Immigration March

More from this show

A march to urge the passage of comprehensive immigration reform will be held May 1. Hear from the one of the march organizers, State Representative Ben Miranda.

Richard Ruelas:
Good evening, I'm Richard Ruelas in tonight for Jose Cardenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." The City of Glendale is facing legal action from a group that protested a new state law back in January. We'll hear from the city and a plaintiff named in the lawsuit.



Richard Ruelas:
Also another immigration march is planned for May. Details from one of the organizers.


Richard Ruelas:
And immigration remains a big issue at the State Capital. We'll hear about the immigration bills being discussed in this year's Legislattive session.


Richard Ruelas:
These stories coming up next on "Horizonte."


Announcer:
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by S.R.P.

Announcer:
S.R.P.'s business is water and power, but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. S.R.P., the leader in more than power.


Richard Ruelas:
Marchers cited for protesting a new state law back in January are filing a lawsuit against the City of Glendale . The city says eight people were cited by police for engaging in a special event without a permit. The protesters claim that Glendale violated their civil rights. We spoke to a Glendale spokesperson about the suit, the permit application process, and how the march created a safety concern for everyone involved.


Julie Frisoni:
Well, what this whole issue revolves around is the fact that the City of Glendale has about 100 special event permits every year that we issue. It's a well-known policy. It's listed on our web site. You can call in. You can ask us about it. And more than 100 people do that every year. These individuals applied without enough time for the City of Glendale to adequately look at their permit. They applied some where the week between Christmas and New Year's. It was December 27. Well within the fourteen days that we ask people to apply. Really those aren't arbitrary or capricious numbers that we ask for. What we want in that timeframe is for you to be able to come to the city and say, we'd like to hold a march, a rally, a parade. And what the city then does is we work with our police, our fire, our sanitation, our transportation to ensure that nothing else is going on that day and to ensure that it is safe. First of all, they did not meet that time criteria, as you know, which was probably the busiest time in Glendale 's history, a couple days before the Fiesta Bowl game. Second, even had they met the timeframe, their march called for a plan to march hundreds of individuals down the street without any sidewalks so essentially putting them in the roadway with a couple hundred thousand vehicles that are coming -- were coming that day for the B.C.S game. There were no sidewalks. There was no safe manner for those individuals to make it from where they were to where they wanted to go. So even had the timeliness issue not been a factor, the issue of safety could have never been overlooked, and the city would have never given them a special event permit under those circumstances. There were no obstructions. It was, if you go look at the location -- I know a lot of people went out there yesterday -- it's basically farmland on 91st Avenue between Bethany Home and Camelback. As you also know, 91st Avenue is the main entryway into the stadium for us. So what you had that day was a couple lanes of traffic backed right up against a dirt berm area basically, and that's where they were proposing to walk. And one only needs to go out there and take a look at it to see how unsafe that would have been. Women, children. There were people pushing strollers. The city would have never allowed for something that unsafe to occur on a public roadway.


Richard Ruelas:
Joining us tonight is Alfredo Gutierrez, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Thanks for joining us.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Thank you.


Richard Ruelas:
The game, I guess we didn't mention that the day of the protest was the day of the B.C.S. National Championship.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
That's right.


Richard Ruelas:
You intentionally chose that.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Absolutely. The city of Glendale was incorrect. This wasn't a couple of days before the large event, it was the day of the large event. Glendale had at least 100,000 people on the streets and had made accommodation for 100,000 people. Students had requested a permit and had literally met with the city manager of Glendale long before the 15-day provision.


Richard Ruelas:
And when were the conversations first beginning with the city that you wanted to hold a protest on the busiest day they would have?


Alfredo Guiterrez:
About the 14th of December, again on the 16th of December. In the interim, by the way, they held a press conference. That apparently is the reason the city manager was peeved. But be that as it may, discussions began about this march with the police department and with the manager long before the 15 days. So, again, the spokesman is incorrect on that point. She wasn't involved and perhaps hasn't been briefed completely. On the route itself, the students made three applications, each trying to accommodate the City of Glendale . The third application the students made was the route recommended by the City of Glendale police. So the route that she's describing was the first route but not the ultimate route recommended by the police.


Richard Ruelas:
Were the protestors on the sidewalk all the way until Maryland Avenue when they were stopped?


Alfredo Guiterrez:
That's right. But, remember, the route that actually was chosen was chosen because it was a negotiated agreement between the City of Glendale and some of us to be charged by the City of Glendale with the crime. This is a crime. They've criminalized the first amendment. And so that the students wouldn't be charged with a crime that carries a six months in jail sentence, 2500-dollar fine, and three years of probation --


Richard Ruelas:
In fact, even further, the reason you wanted to have the protest on that day obviously was national that media attention in town, a lot of cameras focused on that stadium.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Of course. What happened it's a coalition of students that decided to do that. Some of us became very active in order to assist them.


Richard Ruelas:
Especially what we are talking about as the dream act. It was a dream act trying to roll back the state tuition.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Exactly. So the city is wrong. The city spokesman is wrong on the facts. But beyond the facts, you have the Constitution of the United States . Up the first amendment. The city can't criminalize free speech and declare that spontaneous free speech is criminal, that we have to apply 15 days prior for criminal speech in order to speak and not be charged with a crime. That patently and clearly violates the first amendment of the Constitution.


Richard Ruelas:
But there has to be some understanding. And obviously, by approaching the city by mid December, that having a protest on this day --


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Any day. Solis America , the organization that worked with the students, has had marches of over 250 thousand people. We know how to do this. We've had marches of 50,000 people. And we know how to do this. We know -- we know we have first amendment rights, but we also know that it's not in our interest to be disruptive of the community. We want to work as closely as possible with the city. What you have here is a small town becoming a big city that was very worried about their big coming out party, and they chose to trump the Constitution of the United States in order to have a commercial event that they thought would be stain-free.


Richard Ruelas:
Now, when you reached a certain point in the march, police -- actually, police warned you before you started on the march.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
No, no. We negotiated an agreement with the commander and with the police. The police have been with us throughout this. The police were not the issue. City management was the issue. The police knew we knew how to do this march and we were organized and we were disciplined. We reached an agreement with the police that they would not cite everyone there, approximately 600 people, if eight of us would in effect volunteer be to be cited, and I chose that, but we made it very clear that we intended to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance.


Richard Ruelas:
So they cited you essentially knowing a lawsuit was coming.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Absolutely. We made it clear we were going to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance. And secondly their execution of their ordinance which we thought was selective and abusive.


Richard Ruelas:
The suit is asking for damages of only one dollar for each person. I usually carry that kind of cash on me, but I --


Alfredo Guiterrez:
That's correct. The dollars here isn't what's important. What's important is that we establish very clearly that the City of Glendale or no other city in this state has the right to criminalize free speech. And this is an important -- this isn't important for 600 students. It's important for each and every one of us. Whether you're a card-carrying N.R.A. member and want to come out here to A.S.U. and challenge some presentation here. Whether you're in the right to life organization and want to be in the streets in front of a planned parenthood office, whether you've in the right to choose and you want to protest at the State Capital, all of us have a right to free speech, and no community, no matter how small they are, no matter how unsophisticated they are, no matter how important their commercial coming out party is has a right to criminalize free speech.


Richard Ruelas:
Let's say Democratic/Republican National Conventions, they do set up a protest area. So it is a city balancing safety concerns with --


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Absolutely. There is no doubt, and we're not challenging the right of the city to regulate traffic. In these discussions and negotiations that took place over weeks, we made it very clear we were going to stay on the sidewalk; we were going to follow all traffic laws and all laws, as a matter of fact, and we made it very clear to the police that we would operate under their direction. So at no time were we proposing to block traffic, to impede the free flow of anyone else, if you will.


Richard Ruelas:
Yeah.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
But we could have worked that out. The city simply chose not to do that because frankly they didn't want to have a protest on that day. And, again, this -- we're going to take this to the Supreme Court and we're going to beat Glendale, but we're beating Glendale not for the right of 600 students to march but for each and every one of us to have free speech in this country. We don't want a dollar. If they do give us a dollar, we'll find an appropriate charity. What we want is an ordinance that reflects the Constitution of the United States and a procedure -- administrative procedure -- that follows that ordinance.


Richard Ruelas:
Alfredo Guitierrez, thank you for joining us this evening.


Alfredo Guiterrez:
Thank you.


Richard Ruelas:
There's another big immigration march planned for May 1 and Jose Cardenas had to opportunity to talk to one of the organizers, State Representative Ben Miranda on "Horizon."


Jose Cardenas:
Representative Miranda, who's putting together this march. On May 1st.


Ben Miranda:
This is a loose coalition of immigrant groups, primarily those that that service, those that work with, and those on a day-to-day basis in contact with the immigrant community. They came together this past Monday and made a decision to have the march on May 1. As you know, May 1 is a day that's been designated across the nation for the immigrant community, immigrant rights groups. To come forward and show some public demonstration in support of the need for immigration reform, because this is exactly when Congress is expected to start finalizing its plans.


Jose Cardenas:
I want to talk more about the march, whose organizing it, but I understand there will be other things leading up to the march that will be taking place over the next few weeks.


Ben Miranda:
The primary thing is the planning part of it. There is a plan for a March 24 event that commemorates the one-year anniversary of the first significant march and the largest march up to then in the state of Arizona , which was the march to Jon Kyl's office from Saint Agnes Church. That march was estimated to include about 50,000 people. We're hoping to put some event together to commemorate that leading up to the march. There are also ongoing between now and then -- will be ongoing citizenship classes for individuals who wish to study for and prepare for the citizenship exam that's given. We anticipate those. There is a need for and we have not completely planned a full scale of events in terms of immigrant rights and those things that people need to know about, but the rights are in terms of being in this country.


Jose Cardenas:
On May 1, how many people do you actually expect to participate in the march?


Ben Miranda: The plan is for 5000 to 10,000, but there is an unknown commodity, element involved here, and that is the fact that we just don't know where Congress is going to move on it. Congress is going to be a major factor because, if Congress moves swiftly on immigration and proposes to finalize this issue before the beginning of the summer, it could have an impact on the degree or the degree to which it's supported by the immigrant community. There are going to be other elements that we hope to diversify the march, including people from the African American community, from various ethnic and religious groups. So it's going to be a diverse group that leads it also.


Jose Cardenas:
5000 to 10,000 people, though, is significantly less than the first march on Senator Kyl's office or that went there, and of course much smaller than the 100,000 to 200,000 that you had for the big march last year. What's the explanation for that?


Ben Miranda:
One is that we hope to plan it much better, and that will also mean that we're going to encourage people to be well prepared, especially in view of the fact that it is May 1, which could present a problem in terms of people being prepared in terms of water and clothing that they wear. The other aspect to it is frankly we're not in the same situation we were a year ago. Last year, there was a very discriminatory Legislation that was before Congress, 4437. House bill 4437. That house bill would have criminalized almost every single immigrant in this country. And the reaction across the country was these massive marches that took place. We're not in the same stage now. But we still feel that the positive reaction can be one to try to push immigration through Congress and encourage that by showing this physical presence in all the cities across the country but here in Phoenix as well.


Jose Cardenas:
And precisely because the situation is different, some have raised a question why this march now.


Ben Miranda:
Well, first there's a national call for demonstrations across the country from the immigrant community in favor of immigration reform. And second is that we need to do our part. The immigrant community needs to show its face as not being an invisible element in our society. You and I have spoken about the many problems we have out there associated with immigration, and we have a powder keg exploding here, and it's brewing, and unless immigrational reform comes forth, it could have some dire consequences as early as the end of this year. But at this point, the immigration community coming forth and demonstrating that -- their need for immigration reform is the best way for them to participate and the best way to send a message to Congress.


Jose Cardenas:
I understand, though, that there is some difference of opinion among the groups that were involved last time as to whether this is a good idea.


Ben Miranda:
I don't think the differences are whether this is a good idea or not. I think some people would like for this march perhaps maybe to take place on another date, another time much earlier because the weather could be a significant factor. But I don't think the differences are -- are -- are very significant that we have right now. We do need to plan better, though, because there were problems last time in terms of logistics.


Jose Cardenas:
What about backlash? That was a stated concern last time. Any concerns about that this time of around?


Ben Miranda:
No. I don't think so. I think we've proven that the immigrant community can come out in great numbers, 250,000, and put forth a public display, a petition to the government for immigration reform, and do it in a peaceful way. I expect this march to be exactly done in the same fashion in terms of orderliness and peacefulness and cleanliness of the march.


Jose Cardenas:
One of the things that sparked concerns about backlash last time was at least in that first of the two marches last year the prominent display of Mexican flags. Is there anything going to be done to limit that this time of around?


Ben Miranda:
The first march was different than the second march. The second march was virtually -- you know -- we had no flags other than the American flag displayed. This march is going to encourage people to come out with the American flag but, more important, to come out in a peaceful way, in a way that can demonstrate to Congress that this is a responsible element of society that's making a contribution to our country and need be to be legalized.


Jose Cardenas:
Representative Ben Miranda, thank you for joining us on "Horizon".


Richard Ruelas:
State law makers are proposing various measures targeting immigration this year from, employer sanctions against companies who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, to prohibiting state government from accepting identification cards from foreign governments as proof of I.D. Joining us to talk about the many proposals being discussed is my colleague Mary Jo Pitzl from the Arizona Republic .


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Hi, Richard.

Richard Ruelas:
This always seems to be a thing. What does this reflect as far as -- you know -- the community mood when you see so many immigration bills coming in?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Well, I think primarily -- I mean, it does reflect a large -- a widespread community mood that illegal immigration is a big issue in Arizona . Any lawmaker who went through the last campaign cycle will tell you that. But I think more pertinently, it also reflects Russell Pearce's tenure in the Legislature. Since Representative Pearce from Mesa has arrived on the scene, the Legislature has seen illegal immigration bills like never before.


Richard Ruelas:
If you want to look at the immigration bills so you essentially just look at his name? He's attached to most of the immigration bills we're looking at. Right?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Most of them. And that would be a great place to start.


Richard Ruelas:
The first one requires law enforcement to enforce immigration law. Tell us about these bills. I guess there are one bill and one concurrent resolution that might go to voters.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Correct. He starts off with a bill that says local law enforcement would be required to enforce immigration laws, and that means that, if they stop me for a traffic violation, they can check my -- they should check my immigration status to make sure I'm a legal citizen here. This has long been resisted by many in local law enforcement saying, this isn't our job. It's the feds' job. So now we've got a propose law coming down the pike that says, no, it really is part of your job, and make it part of your duties.


Richard Ruelas:
Does the bill have a chance of getting through a committee or two?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Well, it got through its first committee. It has yet to get a hearing on the floor of the House, which is the next -- has a procedural rules committee vote. We'll see what happens on the floor of the House. There's some resistance to this idea of the police chief's organization against it. Now, if that happens, Pearce always has a back-up measure in his back pocket, which is called the House Concurrent Resolution and this would put it on the ballot. Now, of course, this would take Legislative approval, but it would bypass the governor. And a lot of these bills, as we saw last session, get all the way up to the governor and then get vetoed and killed.


Richard Ruelas:
Right.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Going to the ballot circumvents the governor.


Richard Ruelas:
Of course putting it on the ballot brings a whole host of other concerns, because then it's hard for the legislature to change it if something is askew or something they want to amend.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Correct. And that's one thing that makes lawmakers sort of think long and hard about what they want to refer to the ballot, because if they haven't thought it through real carefully, it might come back to bite them.


Richard Ruelas:
Employer sanctions are always popular. A Cronkite Eight poll released this week shows 55% of those polled want to make it a felony for Arizona businesses to employ illegal aliens. What's happening on the employer sanctions front at the State Capital?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
That one's sort of a bouncing ball. There is an employer sanctions bill it has received original committee approval, awaiting a vote in the House, but they took a lot of the teeth out of it last Tuesday -- last Wednesday. Representative Pearce, determined man that he is, put a lot of those measures back in, but what's still missing from the employer sanctions bills is any way to verify that your employee is actually a citizen of the U.S. or is entitled to work in this country. They've yet to come up with a way to address that.


Richard Ruelas:
Right, right. They don't want to mandate that quite yet. Another bill that was actually asked about during the Cronkite Eight poll was about the consular cards, whether citizens of foreign government I.D. cards should be able to use those to get services. It looks like the people -- the support -- 'cause this is an oddly worded question; but the opposition is to a bill that would prohibit those. Where it says opposed 45%, that means people want consular I.D. cards still around. What is happening with the Legislature?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
It's not moving. [laughter] it hasn't gotten anywhere beyond just being assigned to a committee. It didn't get its committee hearing, and the time for initial hearings in committees is passed. Unless there's some procedural move like striking it onto another bill, that's probably not going to go anywhere.


Richard Ruelas:
I guess with most of the immigration related bills that we're going to talk about, that's kind of the case, the ones that might have a chance of passing being the immigration law enforcement by police.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Right. Law enforcement. The employer sanctions. And money for border security. And that one draws support across -- often these things split along party lines with Republicans supportive, Democrats opposed. But the idea of border security draws a fair amount of bipartisan support. Those are the three areas that are likely to actually see some real movement. But I'll tell you, it's early in the game. This whole discussion is happening only in the House. The State Senate hasn't even taken it up. They wanted to wait and follow the House's lead. So they are going to wait and see what shakes out of the House.


Richard Ruelas:
Wait till you take the public temperatures on some of these. House concurrent Memorial 2005 sort of a letter to Congress.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Yes, that is one of their infamous postcards. This is the one that pertains to the fourteenth amendment. If you're born in this country, you're consider an U.S. citizen. Lawmakers want Congress to clarify that perhaps that doesn't mean -- doesn't really mean what it says if you are born here to parents who came here illegally.


Richard Ruelas:
And I don't know whether they even open those letters to Congress.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
I'd love to follow through and find out where do they file those things in Washington , D.C. Is there a special desk drawer for them?


Richard Ruelas:
H Bill 2063 deals with vehicle registration.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
That one was out of the chute really early. And it said if you want to register your car in the state, you've got to be here in person to do that. Car dealers said, wait a minute. We sell cars all across the country and to companies that don't necessarily have a physical presence here. That bill basically got shut down and its provisions picked up in another bill whose number --


Richard Ruelas:
Is that 2466, the other vehicle registration bill?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Yes. So it is not as punitive -- this is something the auto dealers can buy off on. But the point is that they want to try to prevent auto sales of people who aren't in the country legally. Interestingly, last week another provision got struck onto a bill that would prevent the sale of car insurance to people who are in the country illegally. So we all know about some of these folks out there driving regardless of what the law says, and now they won't be insured.


Richard Ruelas:
Or registered.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
Or registered. So you have to be extra careful out on the roads.


Richard Ruelas:
Workers' compensation, HB 2470 would deny workers' compensation.


Mary Jo Pitzl:
That one was a real interesting one. Workers comp is something that, if you work for a company, you are entitled to workers' compensation if your injury happened on the job. This bill would say, if you're an illegal, you can't do it. It died when -- mostly when a Republican from Safford says, wait a minute. What if I'm an employer and do everything I'm supposed to do to hire somebody and they dupe me. I don't know that they're illegal. If you deny them workers comp, they could sue me for any injuries and then me, the company, I'm on the hook. He had a lot of questions about the bill. Representative Pearce didn't want to amend it. And the bill was killed.


Richard Ruelas:
Well I guess the fate of all these is there's going to be a lot of discussion over immigration bills, but what do you think the chances are of them getting a signature on the ninth floor?


Mary Jo Pitzl:
That's very hard to read. Last year the governor was a lot more about immigration than she is this year or I should say her focus this year is different. She spoke to the National Press Club yesterday and she's really aiming in on Congress and federal changes.


Richard Ruelas:
Good deal. Thank you for joining us. I'm sure I'll see you tomorrow at the State Capital. Due to special programming on Channel 8, "Horizonte" will be back in two weeks. That is our show for tonight. Thank you for watching. For Jose Cardenas I'm Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic . For all of us at "Horizonte," have a good evening.


Announcer:
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by S.R.P.


Announcer:
S.R.P.'s business is water and power, but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there.

Ben Miranda: State Representative;

Endeavour Watch Party

“Endeavour” Season 9 Watch Party!

National Memorial Day Concert image
aired May 28

National Memorial Day Concert

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

NOVA will talk about how your brain determines your reality in
aired May 17

NOVA’s two part series on “Your Brain”

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: