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Rally against 'sanctuary cities'

September 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A rally was staged in Sacramento over so-called sanctuary cities; cities whose leaders look the other way when it comes to illegal immigrants.Anti-illegal immigrant forces, like the controversial Minutemen, have led the charge against sanctuary cities. They have made a powerful alliance with another group: family members who have lost a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

"It's just been a shock to our family and it's just beyond comprehension how the family feels right now," said Frank Kennedy, a Bologna family friend.

Tony Bologna and his two sons were shot to death in San Francisco earlier this summer. The family denounced the city's sanctuary practices in harboring the juvenile suspect. The suspect is a Salvadoran native illegally in the United States.

Los Angeles also had a high-profile murder this year. Police say a high school football star, Jamiel Shaw Jr., was gunned down by Pedro Espinoza, who may also be in the U.S. illegally.

Shaw's family has criticized LAPD's Special Order 40, which discourages officers from solely seeking immigration status.

"I feel like I raised my son for illegal alien bait. I don't feel like I accomplished my goal. My goal was to get him to 18. I was 10 months short," said Jamiel Shaw Sr., the victim's father.

Tuesday's rally included both Minutemen and family members of murdered victims. The rally was meant to pressure California lawmakers into punishing sanctuary cities by withholding millions of dollars in state funding.

Opponents claim the move is racist and targets only Latinos.

"What I got from it is that all Hispanics that are not from here are going to commit a crime. They're going to shoot you, or they're selling drugs," said Angelina Palomino, who opposes the move to punish sanctuary cities.

"It's not got anything to do with race. It's got to do with legal and illegal. It's really sad that we're being painted that way. When it would protect everybody," said Joni Tofanelli, Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.

Withholding state funding for sanctuary cities is a long shot. Republican lawmakers have made at least three recent attempts and all have failed. However, having grieving family members on board could help the cause.

 

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