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Rally held for AZ-style immigration bill

April 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A California lawmaker is pushing an immigration reform bill that would close lots of doors to illegal immigrants and penalize those who hire them.

State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) authored the tough new immigration bill. He held a rally Monday in the state capital.

To no one's surprise, his guests included one of the strongest backers of the controversial Arizona law.

Some California conservatives say they can't wait for the federal government to enforce immigration laws, so they are taking Arizona's lead.

Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), who wrote his state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, brought his message to California to drum up support for a similar bill already in the works in Sacramento.

Assembly Bill 26, sponsored by Assemblyman Donnelly, who is also a Minuteman, toughens up on illegal immigration by allowing law enforcement personnel to ask people they stop for proof of citizenship and seeks to end "sanctuary cities."

"Illegal is not a race. It's a crime, and it affects every one of our families and our neighborhoods," said Pearce.

Los Angeles resident Jamiel Shaw Sr. says his college-bound son, Jamiel Jr., was gunned down three years ago by an illegal immigrant who was a gang member. Shaw says he's joined the crusade because he wants his streets safe again.

"Here we are giving you a chance for the American dream, and you're giving us the American nightmare," said Shaw.

A small group of counter-protesters demonstrated nearby. They call AB 26 racist.

"We are against this type of legislation because we don't know how an undocumented looks like," said Lino Peders, who opposes the bill.

Latino Caucus Chairman Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) doesn't believe AB 26 will have enough votes to pass out of committee because it's not how the majority of Californians feel.

"We're trying to create an atmosphere of a good working relationship with each other," said Mendoza. "These kind of bills only create divisiveness and creates animosity."

The Assembly Judiciary Committee votes on AB 26 first thing Tuesday morning. Despite the slim chance of passage, some undocumented immigrants said they are still nervous because they believe there will be several more attempts to get this law passed.

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