Monday, May 01, 2006
Protesters gathering in Atlanta
About 2,000 people gathered in front of the Georgia State Capitol as the noon kickoff time approached for a planned rally to mark "A Day Without Immigrants." People were trickling from downtown Atlanta to the site, but it seemed unlikely there would be the tens of thousands seen at an April protest in the Atlanta area.

While the numbers may not have been high, opinions were strong. Heather Ruark, 29, sat on the sidewalk and wrote out a protest sign. The Dekalb County teacher said she was waiting for her husband, an illegal immigrant who would soon be heading back to Mexico to fight for legal status from beyond U.S. borders. Ruark said she would be joining her husband in Mexico.

Marco Obregon of Mableton, Georgia, came with his wife, Flor, and 8-year-old daughter Kenya. Obregon owns his own construction business, employing six people. He said he came to show "support for our brothers."

As Obregon spoke, across the street was Michael Mooney, a 40-year-old chemical plant worker from Cartersville, Georgia. Mooney held up a sign supporting strong immigration laws, and said those who want to come to the United States should "be patient, follow the laws, and wait their turn." People need to earn their way into the country, he said.
Posted By Brad Lendon, CNN.com Contributor: 12:25 PM ET
  10 Comments
I am married to a US. citizen and went back to my home country in Guatemala and waited my turn to be here. I have always done everything accordint to the law, and strongly agree that people cannot demand to be citizens, even residents of this country. They can come to this country legally and stay like that. Respect this country as we want our to be respected!
Posted By Anonymous Carol Barillas, Madison, WI : 2:58 PM ET
I was there for awhile at 1 PM and it certainly
seemed like more than 2,000 people by then, and
people were still arriving from all directions.
Posted By Anonymous Larry Johnson Atlanta GA : 3:00 PM ET
Brad Linden's commentary reminds me of the powerful CNN program on Atlanta area citizens voicing strong opinions re the large Hispanic growth there. These varied from the NIMBY crowd (not much different from the black movement in the 60's with Talmadge and company to those who welcomed and protected the hardworking Mexican "illegals" (I hate that term) who are helping the economy thrive and seem to cause very few problems other than in bigots' heads.
Posted By Anonymous Maryann Bollinger, P)ittsfield, MA : 3:04 PM ET
Do not call the Rally "A Day Without Immigrants." It should be called "A Day Without Illegal Immigrants." The distinction is important. Legal immigrants have broken no laws, pay taxes and integrate with American Society unlike Illegal Immigrants. It is a shame that we even consider giving them amnesty as this will only encourage more illegal immigration in future.
Posted By Anonymous David White, NY, NY : 3:27 PM ET
....."People need to earn their way into the country," he said......

And how did the first people to come to America EARN their way into the country? Easy for Michael to say... he earned his way in by being born here.

We all look back on our Founding Fathers with pride - when they were absolutely illegal immigrants - they were not asked to come to America - they were not asked to establish cities here. We are renouncing our heritage of being the land of the free and opportunity for all, by becoming an elitist "cool kid" clique.

I've lived here in GA all my life, as have my family back to the original 13, but as the USA we're only 306 years old - still in our infancy -- let's not grow into spoiled brats.
Posted By Anonymous Sherrie, Atlanta, GA : 3:30 PM ET
Years ago people were allowed into this country from boats by only asking their name. Now its different. This country is made of people from other countries. To be here is to be free. This should be shared with anyone who wants the same as us. Willing to work fight and die for it.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Klamath Falls, Ore. : 5:07 PM ET
...We forget the history of this country ( USA ) all of us are immigrants. California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were part of Mexico. the Thirteen Original Colonies were found by people from UK, Sweden, etc.. The indians who are the real american people they put them in reserves..this country is was found by immigrants, i am agree that the people should come legal to work, but they should do something with the people who are alredy here without papers....
Posted By Anonymous MB, Atlanta, : 5:08 PM ET
I agree with Michael Mooney. We rewarded the last wave with amnesty and look what that got - an even bigger flood of illegals. They should be sent back when found and made to enter legally like everyone else. It boggles my mind that people who think they should be legalized don't seem to understand that they broke the law. We don't reward lawbreakers - ever. And they have no rights to protest because they don't belong. Period.
Posted By Anonymous Lu Aydelotte, Ridgecrest CA : 6:14 PM ET
Our contry is in a sad state. We fail to remember that these illegal immigrants consume resources for education, medical services, social services and make no payments as the rest of the contry does. We reward these people by forcing our children to learn their language as a second language and post our street signs and untold other notifications in this "second" language. My forefathers DID NOT DIE so that I would have to learn a second language to communicate to some illegal immigrant. If they want to be here, welcome to them, if they go through the correct procedures.
Posted By Anonymous MRP, Atlanta, Ga. : 6:16 PM ET
I showed up to support the good guys. You know the ones who pay taxes and follow laws. There were less than 10 of us. I guess most Americans had to work.

But we will vote and demand laws to be enforced.
Posted By Anonymous Claude Akley Calhoun GA : 9:15 PM ET
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