Illegal immigration opponents rally in Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Hundreds of illegal immigration opponents rallied in Las Vegas and pledged to fight a Senate plan that legalizes undocumented Mexicans in the U.S.
The two-day Unite to Fight Summit II, which ended Sunday, drew about 350 activists from across the nation.
“This is aimed at getting everyone on the same page,” said organizer Mark Edwards, a local radio show host and founder of the Wake Up America Foundation. “You have to try new tactics and see what works.”
Outside the Cashman Theatre, about 100 protesters carried U.S. flags and shouted “Racists go home.”
Inside, activists stressed there was a difference between legal and illegal immigration.
“I have nothing against immigrants who come here legally,” Edwards told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Speaker Robert Vasquez, a county commissioner from Idaho, agreed: “There’s nothing racist about enforcing the law equally.”
Speakers accused illegal immigrants of waging war against the U.S., and charged the federal government with being unresponsive to the wishes of most Americans.
“This is the most unprecedented Trojan horse invasion in the history of our country,” said Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-immigration group Minuteman Project. “And if our government wants a war, we will fight them with the First Amendment and the right to assembly peaceably.”
Neither Republicans nor Democrats escaped the wrath of activists.
A bumper sticker on a pickup parked outside read: “Bush for President … of Mexico.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., received only slightly fewer catcalls than Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., when their names were brought up.
“What you have is standard boiler-plate sissies,” Gilchrist said of the Senate.
Then, he imitated Reid by raising his voice. “He talks kind of funny. I think he is a sissy.”
Gilchrist also accused real estate developers and the Catholic Church of fighting efforts to strengthen border security.
Other speakers included Linda and Nathan Muller, who led a successful campaign to unseat the mayor and town council in Herndon, Va., over their support for a day labor site.
They gave tips on how to run a grassroots campaign focused on illegal immigration.
“That’s the next step – more political activism on the scene,” Edwards said.
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