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L.A. immigrant rights protesters target Diamondbacks, plan Arizona march this weekend

May 29, 2010 |  1:14 pm
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef01347fec1d33970c-600wiIn a series of Memorial Day weekend events, immigrant rights advocates are preparing to march in Arizona, debate new legislative strategies in an emergency meeting there and protest against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Los Angeles.

Busloads of more than 200 labor, religious and civil rights activists left Los Angeles on Friday for Phoenix, where they plan to join as many as 50,000 others in protesting the law.

On Sunday, more than 100 leaders from major Latino organizations will convene in Phoenix to debate new strategies for winning some kind of immigration legislation this year. They are close to pushing a new approach as hopes dim for passage of comprehensive legislation that would overhaul key pieces of the entire system and legalize the nation's estimated 11 million unauthorized migrants.

Many members of the National Latino Congress, which represents more than 500 organizations, have become impatient with the Senate's failure to introduce a comprehensive bill and will debate shifting toward an incremental strategy pushing smaller measures, according to Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonprofit public policy analysis organization.

Activists are particularly pushing measures to grant legal status to undocumented college students and farmworkers, both of which are backed by powerful interests.

The Dream Act, which would offer legal status to undocumented youths who attend college or join the military, is now included in the Pentagon's strategic plan for fiscal years 2010-12 as a way to maintain the nation's all-volunteer military. And agribusiness has teamed up with the United Farm Workers union, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), to push a bill to provide a stable supply of legal farm workers.

-- Teresa Watanabe

Photo: Anti-Arizona immigration law protest in downtown L.A. earlier this month. Credit: Los Angeles Times