Monday, May 01, 2006
Protester's family predates home city of Phoenix
"Aqui estamos, y no nos vamos!"

"We're here, and we're not leaving!"

Thousands of people delivered that message during four separate demonstrations held in and around Phoenix, Arizona.

More than 1,000 people formed a half-mile-long human chain stretching around the block from the Home Depot store near 75th Avenue and McDowell Road.

Two Home Depot stores were targeted for the demonstrations to document the importance of immigrant workers, said Alan Hanson, 30, of Phoenix, a volunteer for the group Somos America (We are America), which organized the chain.

"We don't see this as fighting," Hanson said. "We see this as workers exercising their rights in this country."

In another demonstration, people chanted and cheered "Si se puede!" -- loosely translated as "Yes, we can" -- in front of Trevor Browne High School in southwest Phoenix, where many students are immigrants.

Jesus B. Alvira, 58, of Phoenix, said he came out for the Trevor Browne demonstration because he wants to show that people are sometimes wrongly thought to be illegal immigrants. A seventh-generation Arizonan, Alvira said his family lived in the area before the city even existed.

"Just by looking a little dirty and taking off my cap, you'd think I'm illegal," Alvira said.

He added that the Latino vote is to be reckoned with when considering immigration reforms, because many Latinos are U.S. citizens and are part of a group with growing political clout.

"When November comes, they're really going to put the vote on," Alvira said.
Posted By Nicole Saidi, CNN.com Contributor: 6:20 PM ET
  28 Comments
"We see this as workers exercising their rights in this country." This is what they have to say. They don't even have a legal right to work in this country. We should be going after the companies that employ people that are here illegally. Until they fill out the necessary paperwork, stand in line and take a test to become an American Citizen, they have no rights what-so-ever. I can not believe that we as a society are even putting up with this media coverage. Enough is enough! And you are not America. The people who vote are America!! So go become a citizen, register to vote, then I'll listen to what you have to say!!
Posted By Anonymous Ricki, Alamogordo, NM : 6:54 PM ET
Yes. I am an African American female. I feel liberated seeing other minority groups who rally together nonvilonetly for a just cause. America or at least the samll population in power forget that our country cannot exist without the labor of each individual. What is occuring in government is just another form of insittuional racism. Instead of sending illegal Mexican back to Mexico let's help them become citizens, for their are already contributing to the welfare of OUR country.
Posted By Anonymous Singleton, Sarasota, FL : 6:55 PM ET
When I arrived to the States almost 30 years ago, we lived in Phoenix. I came with dreams as everybody else. My dream though was to learn to speak English, drive a car and get a job. Within one year, proud to say, I accomplished all three. I didn't demand anything from the government, I worked very hard for every penny and I'm proud of it.
I'm not against immigrants, but YES, I'm against illegals. Also, where are all those illegals from other countries? Everybody is talking only about Mexicans.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, Palm Desert, Ca. : 6:57 PM ET
I am sure everyone supports people immigrating to America with the idea of getting a better way of life. We just ask that the people who do immigate to America, do so legally and pay their fair share toward taxes, and not burden the country's welfare and health systems. This country, the land of the free should be not so free giving and convert to a user pay as you go system. It would be a more fair and economical system.
Posted By Anonymous Tag, Gridley, California : 6:57 PM ET
What Alan says makes no sense. Most of these people marching are illegals, so what sort of rights are they supposed to have....?

Being an H1-B visa holder here in US, I feel that it is not right that the illegal immigrants themselves get citizenship/legal status or even pardoned for working here illegally. I had to practically jump through miles of redtape/hoops just to get my legal status here and I think that if they want it badly, they should jump the same hoops as I did.

This being said, for those illegal immigrant parents who already have kids in the states, I feel then that out of compassion they should be given some sort of a deal to claim a legal status in this country. No one gains anything by breaking up families. However, for those of you that don't have a single tie to this country (such as kids), then you really don't have any rights to jump the line in front of me to get your citizenship or legal status.
Posted By Anonymous Ken, San Francisco CA : 6:58 PM ET
As I sit here unemployed after serving my time in the military, I can't believe the public is paying more attention to law breaking illegals than Iraq or Iran. I say if they want to be legal then pay all your back taxes, social security, fica and so forth. Untill then my brothers in arms have been getting shot at so they can pay for the illegals free health care etc. I'd be more than happy to help build the proposed fence. At least then I could get a job.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Indianapolis Indiana : 6:58 PM ET
People in general seem to forget that this isn't about LEGAL immigrants. Its about ILLEGAL. Breaking the law. Illegal is illegal. Immigration made this country great. 'We're all immigrants at some point.' But its 2006 not 1706. We have laws and rules to follow. Stay if you are legal. Get out if you're not.
Posted By Anonymous Chrystal, Oceanside CA : 6:58 PM ET
"We don't see this as fighting," Hanson said. "We see this as workers exercising their rights in this country."

Since when have people had the right to enter any country, including the US, illegally?

The protests bill themselves as 'immigrant rights' demonstrations. In reality, they are 'lets reward illegal aliens for breaking the law' rallies.

Illegal aliens have greatly depressed salaries in a wide range of service jobs. Citizens and legal residents who had only a high school diploma used to be able to earn a living, albeit a modest one, in these jobs. Now what are they supposed to do? Not everybody has a college education. Employers love all of this because it allows them to slash wages and realize much larger profits.

If Mexicans should be rewarded for entering the country illegally and taking jobs away from Americans, shouldn't US citizens and legal immigrants be rewarded for breaking the speed limit?
Posted By Anonymous Bob, San Jose, CA : 7:02 PM ET
In what other country in the world could illegal residents join with citiizens in protest?

Something to think about in the midst of this eh? I value the workers in this country, but I value orderly immigration and the speaking of the english language. My family immigrated and thought enough of its new land to learn the language and sing its anthem proudly. Be here, but become a citizen and pay taxes!
Posted By Anonymous Sue Kintnersville PA : 7:02 PM ET
They come here illegally, take things that belong to us (jobs, education funding, free healthcare at emergency rooms), and say they aren't leaving. These aren't immigrants, they are an invasion force.

You want to come here? Obey the law, come legally, apply to be a citizen, learn the language, and do it the right way! But don't break in, then act as if you've got a right to stay.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Henderson, Bothell, WA : 7:02 PM ET
Well I live in the Northeast and we didn't notice any difference between today and any other work day. We're still singing our National Anthem in English by the way.
Posted By Anonymous Sandra Bartlett Bennington Vermont : 7:04 PM ET
They're here and they're not leaving? Where else could someone sneak in and make such an arrogant demand? Could I sneak into a country like, say, New Zealand and make the same demand? Heck no. I'd be booted out before I knew what happened.

I blame the U.S. administration for this problem. Shame on all of them. We could have secure borders AND a thriving Visiting Worker Program, but no one at the top seems to have the backbone to set strong boundaries. In the meantime we have no choice but to suffer the embarrassment of the illegals waggling their fingers in our faces saying, "Nanner, nanner nanner. We're here and we're not leaving." And they're right! I'll bet that in 20 years they'll all still be here.
Posted By Anonymous Sean K., Denver, CO : 7:06 PM ET
I say this would have been a great time to do a illegal immigrant raid. Just because you came into this country illegally does not give you any kinds of rights in this country. Go through the steps and of becoming legal and then come talk to me.
Posted By Anonymous James S Madison Wi : 7:07 PM ET
What part of ILLEGAL don't these people understand. They all need to be send back to where they came from. Who do they think they are? They came here illegally and they need to go. They are not entitled to american rights, these are reserved for citizens. They have alot of nerve thinking america can't get along without them. We would be so much better off if we got rid of all the illegals. They are causing people to turn against all immigrants. THe ILLLEGAL pnoes need to be kicked out ASAP. Sorry, but facts are facts. They are ILLEGAL.
Posted By Anonymous Lee, Martinez, California : 7:09 PM ET
What an odd day in America when people march for criminals!
Posted By Anonymous Alicia, Washington, DC : 7:31 PM ET
It is true that most of us were immigrants. My Grandparents were--Most of us were born here and we are citizens. Were are talking about ILLEGAL immigrants! To supporty them is to break our laws! Get here legally or get out!
Posted By Anonymous R. Hajduk, Homosassa, FL : 7:33 PM ET
I have to say that most of the posts here are very reactionary and short-sighted. For exmaple, Dave in Indiana complains that he has no job while illigals are here working. Well Dave, feel free to go down to your local chicken-slaughter plant and get to work! Fact is, Dave doesn't want to do the jobs that illegal immigrants will do.

But there is a larger question here that all of you are missing. You assume that these people wanted to come here illegally and "steal" jobs and not learn to speak English (newsflash: English is NOT the official language in the US just because you speak it). Why is it that these people feel so desperate that they would risk their lives and their families lives to treak across a desert wasteland, enter a foreign country where they don't speak the predominant language, and then spend their lives living in sub-standard housing, working horrible labor jobs, and dodging the law?? Shouldn't we be doing something to fix the root of this problem? Obviously there is something wrong with our immigration policy. This is not an "invasion" as one writer called it. These people should be considered as economic refugees. And yes, many many other countries around the world have to deal with economic or political refugees illegally crossing their borders. We need to work with the Mexican government and fix the root of this problem so that these people don't feel the need to immigrate illegally in the first place. Fences and deportation are simply not going to do it.
Posted By Anonymous Kris, Salt Lake City, UT : 7:58 PM ET
This 'illegal immigrants' hysteria brings about a historical parallel scenario of how the Nazis started using the Jews as leverage to rally their people to unite.

History is replete with fear and anger and frustration being used as catalysts.

Let's just not fall into this emotional trap. Americans should know better?
Posted By Anonymous Mel O. - Gurnee, IL : 8:09 PM ET
"We see this as workers exercising their rights in this country" - absolutely. Contrary to the popular (and racist) belief in this country - undocumented persons in this country DO WORK. They are vital to our domestic economy. It really blows my mind that undocumented workers are forced to fight for the right to clean our public restrooms, pick our fruits and vegetables, and do other "unsavory menial jobs."

In response to the numerous posts that state the "illegals" should be protesting in their home countries, like Mexico. Well, upon closer examination of the structure of our globalized economy, the US pretty much dictates the economic policies of the under-developed/developing countries. The economic forces, initiated by US multinationals, are what drives labor away from their respective home countries to seek better wages and conditions. Deal with free-trade first, if you want to solve the "immigration problem."

Remember, they are workers - people, that we are discussing here; not "illegals or legals" but working people. It is no mistake that this demonstration fell on May Day.
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Grand Rapids, MI : 9:10 PM ET
No one that I know is against legal immigration, but the key word is LEGAL. Growing up in Los Angeles and being the descendant of Chinese immigrants, I support people who want to find a better life for them and their families, but doing so illegally is unacceptable.

There is a rampant sense of entitlement that disgusts me. There are military veterans and senior citizens who are unable to get proper healthcare and social services because our systems are overburdened by illegal immigrants, especially in my area of Los Angeles.

Plus, what about undocumented workers who are exploited by unscrupulous bosses and business owners? Will they risk reporting their boss for cheating them out of pay they've earned at the expense of being found out?

It's a vicious cycle that our government has allowed to become completely out of control. It's high time for them to finally do something about it.
Posted By Anonymous michelle, los angeles, ca : 9:12 PM ET
Looks like the Americans are scared. What laws are they talking about? Laws are made by people you dumbos. No one else writes it on a piece of crap paper. Got that you numb skulls? And if enough people support the poor immigrants, you can take your law and flush it down the toilet. Got that? Then you will have to live with a new law passed by the people!!! This is how legal and illegal is decided in civil matters. Got that? The same sort of law which allowed all you immigrants to enter the USA in the first place!!! Yes, you are all immigrants who are now jealous and envious of the incoming poor people as they will have money and will become equal or superior to you, and also you are scared and jealous because you fear they can take away your jobs. Racial bigotry? Economic bigotry? Superiority illusions? lol. Get real you bimbos and learn to share that which was never yours in the first place!!! Dont get too greedy. lol.
Posted By Anonymous Shiva, San Francisco, California : 9:15 PM ET
Like I once read..."America is like the guy at the party who gives out free coke all night...and still noone likes him."

It'll dry up someday.
Posted By Anonymous Mike H. Los Angeles, CA. : 9:17 PM ET
I'd like to see what Mexico would give me if I moved to Mexico without money and 2 kids to feed?? what rights would I have or get there??
Posted By Anonymous Steve Duran, Portland, OR : 9:20 PM ET
Something legal (or illegal) doesn't necessarily translate into being morally right (or wrong). Let us think of the Jim Crow Laws, for example. Don't forget we're all immigrants in some way. Furthermore, "Si se puede" does not 'loosely' translate into "Yes we can". It means, "Yes it can be done". What 'can be done' is to develop compassion and empathy towards each other; to treat everyone with the same respect with which we wish to be treated. Let us start living with an open heart, and open mind, and an open world. Imagine...
Posted By Anonymous Alejandra Castaneda, Sacramento, CA : 3:28 AM ET
Somos Americanos, We are Americans. Yes you are, but this is the UNITED STATES on the continent of North America. If you migrate here legally, welcome. If you come here illegally, you are screwing over everyone from your country who is trying to do it right.
Posted By Anonymous Catherine, Lake Forest, IL : 9:11 AM ET
"When November comes, they're really going to put the vote on," Alvira said.

Ironically, so will the people who came here legally.

If this was strictly by votes, who do you think would have more? The illegal immigrants/supporters, or the ones that wish the laws be observed?
Posted By Anonymous Jake, Wheeling IL : 9:49 AM ET
As a Mexican native who learned English as a foreign language since I was a little girl and, eventually, became an English teacher for University students and teachers, I would like to let you know that the proper English translation to the Spanish chants: �Si se puede�is �YES, IT CAN BE DONE�. Actually, the chants refer to the possibility the illegal immigrants have and hope for to become legal immigrants with all the benefits they deserve. I would appreciate my comment could be posted.
Posted By Anonymous Ofelia R. Furlong : 3:44 PM ET
Su voto es su voz! S� se puede! We not only need to vote with our feet but also at the ballot box. Register, think, and vote!
Posted By Anonymous Robert Parra, Kansas City, Missouri : 5:34 PM ET
ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.




SUBSCRIBE
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.