State group protests for immigrant rights

March 21, 2014 • Local News

Jill McLaughlin Photo
Protesters from Somos Chaves County, an affiliate of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, chanted outside of the Roswell office of Rep. Steve Pearce, R-Dist. 2, Thursday as part of the group’s National Week of Action for Immigration Reform.

Jill McLaughlin
Record Staff Writer

Protestors from Somos Chaves County, an affiliate of a statewide immigrant-led organization, held an event outside Rep. Steve Pearce’s Roswell office Thursday.
Nearly 60 people held signs, chanted and spoke out in Spanish to demand the congressman support a path to citizenship.
Dairy worker Pablo Hernandez said he had lived in Chaves County for 30 years and it was time for Pearce to support them.
“Families have been separated due to Congress [auth] not acting. We demand a stop to separation of families,” he reportedly said.
Marina Pina, a community organizer for Somos Chaves County, an affiliate for Somos Un Pueblo Unido, provided English translation during the event.
The group had a great turnout, Pina said.
“It only shows our community is organized. We will continue fighting and organizing to make our voices heard.”
The group held signs in support of dairy and oil field workers. Other speakers said they would vote for politicians who supported the needs of their community and not ones that blocked their future.
“Here in Chaves County, almost 14 percent of the population is immigrant and the main workforce of dairy and oil is immigrant,” Pina said. “We need (Pearce) to be a leader on this.”
Pearce, who was not at the office, has spoken out strongly in favor of immigration reform recently and introduced bipartisan immigration reform legislation, said his spokesman, Eric Layer.
“Somos Un Pueblo Unido is not looking at the facts,” Layer said. “Congressman Pearce is a strong advocate for immigration reform.”
Last month, Pearce joined a crowd of hundreds of immigrants and community leaders to announce his most recent bipartisan immigration proposal, Layer said.
Mexicans are the largest group of U.S. migrants. One in 10 Mexicans now live legally or illegally in the U.S., according to a report on Mexican migration policy and trends issued by the Congressional Research Service in 2012.
As of 2010, 11.4 million foreigners lived in the U.S. illegally. Of those, an estimated 6.7 million — 57 percent — were unauthorized Mexicans, according to the report.
Somos Un Pueblo Unido, founded in 1995, promotes worker and racial justice in 10 counties, according to its web site. It engages its members in the political and electoral process and leads grassroots campaigns for local and national policies.
Thursday’s protest was part of a weeklong effort by the group, as part of National Week of Action for Immigration Reform. The group also marched and protested in Los Lunas Tuesday and held a candlelight vigil in Portales Wednesday.

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