Thousands Protest Arizona Immigration Law
in San Francisco

Written by Michael Costa. Posted in News, Politics

Published on May 02, 2010 with 8 Comments

Bay Area residents marched and rallied in San Francisco Saturday to protest the passage of SB 1070, Arizona's controversial immigration bill. Photos by Michael J. Costa.

By Michael J. Costa

May 2, 2010

Thousands of Bay Area residents joined forces Saturday in San Francisco to protest the passage of Arizona’s controversial immigration bill, SB 1070.

The protesters marched noisily but peaceably from Dolores Park to San Francisco Civic Center on the day known globally as International Workers Day.

The traditional May Day observance took on a more heated tone, however, when protesters clashed at Civic Center with members of the Golden Gate Minutemen and Norcal Tea Party, conservative groups that held a counter protest in support of strict immigration laws including Arizona’s immigration bill.

Police erected barricades to separate the opposing groups and to prevent the possibility of violence. Protesters were limited to waving banners, chanting slogans, sounding bullhorns and waving fingers at each other from across the street.

“I am here to support my people, people who have no voice, or are too scared to fight for their rights,” said Richmond resident Esmeralda Frias, age 24.

“I am here in solidarity with people who are like me,” said San Francisco resident Elyse Gay, 52. “Like our forefathers, we all immigrated from somewhere.”

“Kill SB 1070,” added Vernal Primus, 58. “Start reforming immigration laws. That is why I am here today.”

But not all in attendance at the Civic Center rally were sympathetic to the SB 1070 protest.

“I am here to protest the illegal march,” said Alameda resident Elizabeth Kelly, age 66. “I am totally against amnesty for illegals.  I am a legal immigrant who raised four sons who serve their country.  What I witness are these countries’ illegals draining our system of our money and draining our system of resources.”

Steve Kemp, an activist in support of SB 1070, stated, “I am here to stand up for the 200-million Americans who believe that illegal immigration is wrong and wants it to stop.”

“We want the law to be followed in terms of immigration,” said Pleasanton resident Mark Vorgele, 56. “If your not here legally we’re not paying for you.”

SB 1070, signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last week, seeks to “discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States,” and provides law enforcement increased powers, “where reasonable suspicion exists,” to identify and deport undocumented persons.

The law’s passage has prompted condemnation and boycotts.

Constitutional law groups including the ACLU are preparing legal challenges to the new law on the grounds that it violates constitutionally protected civil rights and that it may lead to racial profiling and enforcement abuses.

Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Tuesday the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department are conducting a review of the state law which could result in a court challenge.

Luke Thomas contributed to this report.

Protesters Mark and Peggy Vorgele waved flags and signs in support of SB1070 and immigration controls.

Mirella Vargas and Jamie Jauregui wore the Mexico flag in protest of SB 1070.

Members of the LGBT Center show their support for immigrant rights.

  • AreYouHighORWhat

    Love that picture of the protesters holding the “IMMAGRANT” sign, TFF! Thousands marched but millions stayed home, MILLIONS! You don’t have America’s support, we don’t reward criminals!

    As Sue Sylvester would say “sloppy freakshow babies! somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manor home Madonna is weeping…as dozens of celebrities, politicians, and d-list wannabes do permanent damage to their credibility with the American public”

    Gay Urban Hipsters In Seattle Permanently Boycotting Anyone Aiding The Busload Of Harper Valley PTA Agitators Trying Oppress Arizona

    P.S. California, you’re “Don’t boycott us” but “Let’s boycott them” just put you on my permanent boycott list next to Jane Fonda and Colorado. Coachella’s been a hot mess for years, allready tossed my California wines, and cancelled my yearly trip to SF Pride Parade. I know that the six queens I caravan with in the Pace Arrow won’t be missed that much, but I’m probably not the only person sick of your Harper Valley PTA b.s.

  • Ralph

    Walking or Driving While Brown [On protesting Arizona’s Immigration law]

    “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    [attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller]

  • ScouterKen

    When I read this sign America was founded on immigrants, I say, yes, immigrants who came “LEGALLY”. I had to pay over $1000 to get my LEGALLY married German wife (Mother of Five American Citizen kids.) a Visa, plus I had to prove a German wasn’t coming to the US to live on Welfare. (The fact that she is leaving a country that has Welfare cases getting the same insurance as the CEO of Daimler and you get paid cash every two weeks, wasn’t good enough proof.)

    Then people are shouting to give everyone who comes in the US “ILLEGALLY” and break OUR LAWS FREE VISA’S! I see these people getting FREE WELFARE! I See these Illegals getting FREE Credit Cards! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I’m tired of it.

    I would also want to see all these Warehouses and farmers who are “KNOWINGLY HIRING ILLEGALS” pay Large fines. It is a known secret in many cities what farmers have illegal’s working for them and the majority of these people don’t get paid half of what they were promised. WHY AREN’T WE PROTESTING THAT!

  • stevo1

    What is the argument here? every single alien “BROKE THE LAW!” Our Government, past & present, Republican & Democrat, have allowed the invasion of 20 to 30 million criminals and uneducated peons which is the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means & in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV of our Constitution.

    This refusal to abide by our Constitution or enforce our Immigration Laws should be classified as Treason of the most foul kind, & as grounds for impeachment & trials for Treason!

    Not only have they allowed the invasion, they force American tax payers to pay Billions on Billions of dollars to provide Welfare, Prison cells, Educate the invaders numerous children, and free medical care, at the same time the invading horde break numerous laws and massive document fraud, & are destroying our schools, hospitals, communities, culture and standard of living while Robbing, Raping, Killing & Assaulting American Citizens WAKE UP PEOPLE! They walked,rode,swam and drove over here, they can do the same going home! taking thier anchor babies with them!

  • GT8662

    I don’t care if the people pouring across the border ILLEGALLY are brown, yellow, white, or checkerboard. If they are illegal, they are illegal and we have to enforce border security for the welfare of legal citizens of the US. Of course someone will accuse me of racism because my statements above don’t recognize the cultural diversity of the groups that may have different skin color and what particular cultural diversity that skin color might bring to the table. Immigration laws, both federal and state, are to protect the LEGAL citizens of the US from those that may bring harm. Perhaps those that want to bring the race card into this mix to confuse the issues should instead take a look at the immigration laws in other countries such as Mexico or other Central American Countries. They are far more restrictive and if you break their law, punitive. Just like ours they don’t care what your race is. They do require the immigrant to be self supportive, to pay taxes on wages earned, to be limited as to the use of their social or free medical programs and for the immigrant to go thru a process (sometimes lengthy and complicated) of immigration that identifies and provides documents that may have to be presented from time to time to law enforcement. The US should put the interests of its citizens over those that don’t comply with US immigration laws.

  • stevo1

    Folks, we as Americans should know that you CANNOT pick and choose which laws you want to follow and which laws you do NOT want to follow. We Americans need to STAND UP NOW and tell them enough is enough! FOLLOW the LAW! kick out every illegal alien and their children, send them back to Mexico or wherever it is they are from! they are abusing the system!, and you can bet LARAZA is behind a majority of this! healthcare? say NO to covering illegals out of our pockets! we have done this far to long! and are now facing the consequences! Our schools are overcrowded with them! they get free foodstamps! free medical! free places to live! why would they NOT want these things?? it is TIME for them to GO HOME! Let mexico deal with its own, or they can go their and change thier own country! As an American Citizen iam TIRED of footing the bill here! where in the CONSTITUTION does it say “sneak across the border, drop a child and get free living, compliments of the U.S.Taxpayer??? what did our forefathers fight and die for?? this SNAFU? tell your Non-representing -representatives that it is time to FOLLOW THE LAW! every last one of them that set foot across our border BROKE THE LAW! they need to be apprehended, deported, and if they come back, build a prison in MEXICO and let them take care of their own!
    testimony about illegal healthcare costs

  • Ralph

    Arizona has about 1.7 million residents of Hispanic or Latino origin, or about 30 percent of the population. This means that potentially 1.7 million Arizonans legal and undocumented are likely targets. As a caucasian, I will unlikely be stopped if visiting Arizona, but the law, if applied as enacted, will likely target those of Hispanic or Latino origin. As a Californian, I am not sure I could prove my legal status with documents I usually carry on my person or in my auto. Arizona directs law enforcement officials, “when practicable,” to check the immigration status of someone they have “reasonable suspicion” is in the country illegally. They cannot “solely consider” that person’s race or ethnicity. Presumably they can consider race or ethnicity in combination with other factors. But they cannot engage in racial profiling. Yet given the meaninglessness of so many of the potential criteria that law enforcement might consider, e.g., eating a burrito, wearing coveralls, speaking Spanish, the one that will probably count most is race. In practice, it is inevitable that this law will lead to racial profiling. People don’t wear signs saying that they are illegal immigrants, nor do illegal immigrants engage in any particular behavior that distinguishes them from legal immigrants and citizens. So police officers probably will not stop white people; they will stop those of Hispanic or Latino origin. The law basically makes Arizona law officials INS officials, who are indemnified from wrongfully racially profiling unless it is done in bad faith, which is tough to prove. Thus, giving law officials almost carte blanche to target those walking or driving while Brown with little or no legal consequences. The law was recently amended so law enforcement officials cannot stop persons unless that person committed a crime. Is driving without a stop light, or jaywalking, or public inebriation a crime justifying a check of documentation? Racism is clearly at work here.

  • marilyn

    I believe that stevo1 should dbe terminated. Who are you to say illegals need to go back to Mexico along with thier anchor babies? & since when are ALL illegals MEXiCAN? Last time i checked your mother and you father and thier parents are immigrants from some country in Europe. You have absolutley no idea what the hell your taling about! & i firmly agree with Ralph, for he does know how to interpret SB1070 as 100% racist! Jan Brewer should be terminated to! I though government officials were supposed to know the laws. She must have had a brain fart when she passed that law; violating the fourth amedment of the Constitution. All of this is stupid and TRUST ME STEVO! Obama will most definetly ANNUL SB1070! FAST!!!!!!!!!!!