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Friday, May 2, 2008

2,500 Immigrant Rights Supporters Call for Change at State Capitol

in the news

Oregon immigration protest draws 2,500 to Capitol
5/1/2008, 5:45 p.m. PDT
The Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Carrying signs reading "Driving is a right, not a crime," a mostly Hispanic crowd of about 2,500 on Thursday protested a new driver's license law they say punishes immigrants and they also called for major changes in federal immigration and workplace laws.
The crowd at the annual event, held in front of the Capitol each May 1, was enthusiastic but somewhat subdued compared to recent rallies when major restrictive immigration bills were alive in Congress.
Speakers demanded rollback of a decree codified by the Legislature in February — Senate Bill 1080 — that requires applicants for driver's licenses to prove legal residence in the country.
Rep. Chip Shields, D-Portland, urged the crowd through an interpreter to support legislators who opposed the driver's license restrictions.
"Today I am here to help your cause," he said, getting cheers. "We all know that SB1080 was not about driver's licenses. It was about immigration."
He said the bill missed the target, and described many immigrants as economic refugees of globalization and regional trade pacts with Latin America that are harming Latin America's agricultural base. >>continue


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