Thousands Protest Georgia Immigration Bills

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

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Thousands of people gathered at the Georgia Capitol Thursday, waving signs and chanting to protest legislation that targets illegal immigrants.Javier Mendez, his wife and their 18-month-old son were among the crowd that police estimated at roughly 5,000 people. The 35-year-old waiter, who lives in Roswell, said he came here from Mexico about five years ago to seek a better life.“We are fighting for something we believe is fair,” said Mendez, who works as a waiter. “We’re not the criminals they say we are. We’re just looking for a better opportunity.”

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The crowd, dressed mostly in white shirts at the request of organizers, chanted in Spanish and English and waved signs with slogans such as “Immigrants pick the crops that you eat every day!” and “Broken system, broken families.” Speakers included activists, Democratic lawmakers, students and others. They urged Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Folk rock duo the Indigo Girls performed their song “Shame on You” with lyrics adapted for the rally while expressing their support.

“We’re from Georgia and we don’t want our state to pass any legislation that’s really anti-immigrant,” said Amy Ray, one half of the duo, in an interview. “We feel like the state is really richer and more productive with the Hispanic community here and we want to show them.

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