- Dec 27, 2004
- Reaction score
- The Republic of Texas
Seems that regardless Federal law on immigration, the mayor of National City, CA has decided he can make his own.Minutemen rally draws protesters to National City
By Jennifer Vigil
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
September 24, 2006
NATIONAL CITY More than 100 police officers and deputies used a median on National City Boulevard yesterday to separate hundreds of people gathered to respond to Mayor Nick Inzunza's push for the city to declare itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.
Police were called in from across San Diego County to patrol the rally, which originated as a protest of Inzunza's proposal. It was organized by the San Diego Minutemen, which began as a group of volunteers attempting to stem illegal immigration by patrolling the border.
Those who support the sanctuary idea, or were angered by the presence of the Minutemen, decided to counter with their own event. Both sides converged at National City's civic center.
The rally continued for more than three hours, and it ended with one arrest of a man on the anti-illegal immigration side who is accused of kicking a San Diego sheriff's deputy. His removal angered other protesters, but police defended their decision to detain the man, who was not identified.
You can't be in a crowd and assault an officer and expect to stay in the crowd, said National City police Capt. Manuel Rodriguez.
Rodriguez estimated that about 400 people attended the rally, drawn by Inzunza's announcement two weeks ago that he wants National City to be a sanctuary city, where no local funds are used to enforce federal immigration laws.
Though the city already practices that policy, the attempt to formally adopt the label has roiled other city officials, whom Inzunza did not consult before making his proposal.
Neither Inzunza nor the city's four other council members attended the rally, which Rodriguez called the largest in recent city history.
Still, Inzunza's presence was felt. Some protesting illegal immigration held signs with his picture. One read, Send him to Tijuana, while another tagged him a racist reconquista.
The other side answered with signs accusing the Minutemen of being Today's Koo Koo Klan, and claiming No somos immigrantes es nuestra tierra, or, translated, We aren't immigrants it's our land.
The crowd stood on both sides of the divide between the city's Police Department and City Hall, displaying their signs, waving American and Mexican flags, and chanting, singing and throwing barbs back and forth.
Minutemen and their supporters lined the east side of the boulevard between east 12th Street and Civic Center Drive, while those who opposed them stayed on the west, for the most part.
Two blockades of officers and deputies, some armed with rifles filled with rubber bullets, tried to bar anyone from crossing. More than a dozen San Diego police officers on horseback waited on the north side of the intersection but were never called in.
The charge of racism by some who opposed the Minutemen riled Philip Walker, a Marine who has served three tours in Iraq. Walker, 27, who is black, is stationed at Camp Pendleton. He said he supports those who come to the United States by using the proper channels.
That's the problem, they turn it into a hate thing, Walker said. We do love our neighbor that comes here legally, that goes through the process.
Student Damaly Gonzalez, 19, said anti-illegal immigration demonstrators failed to realize they can be patriotic and support Latinos, many of whom, she said, are serving in the war or were among the law enforcement officials watching over the crowd.
Gonzalez, who said her family came from Mexico two generations ago, attended the rally with her mother, Alma Santos, six brothers and several nieces and nephews. The two sides could find some common ground, she said, but not if they show as much antagonism as they did yesterday.
It's not being angry, Gonzalez said. It's being willing to listen.