When Immigration Matters

Immigration Reform Rally Sparks Controversy

Posted by Michael Pollak on Mar 20, 2010, 3:48:00 PM

Peter O'Dowd files an in-depth report on divergent perspectives on this weekend's immigration rally in Washington DC. 

Alicia Contreras, a 26 year old social worker from Arizona explains why she supports comprehensive immigration reform and why she is heading to Washington to participate in this weekend's march.

Ms. Contreras works part-time to keep at-risk kids out of gangs and off drugs. Many of those kids, she says, are from illegal immigrant families. She's going to Washington for them. "I want them to go to college. I want them to work for themselves."

Representative Russell Pearce (R-Arizona) won't be joining the marchers. He wants a different type of reform. He's gathering support for a law that would make it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit work in public. Two years ago, one of his most controversial bills began putting sanctions on business owners who knowingly hire undocumented workers. Pearce says stronger laws make Arizona a safer place. A lot of voters here agree with him. He describes the activists at this weekend's rally in Washington as promoters of anarchy.

"These folks who march in complete disrespect for the law have no regard for the victims of crime and the damage and the cost to America. Shame on them. Shame on them. They're as un-American and as treasonous as anybody I know."

What's right for America is up for debate, but the attention drawn to the topic can only serve as a catalyst for reform that will improve a broken system that is in desperate need of repair.

Listen Now.

Tags: NPR, Immigration, Immigration Law, immigration reform, Peter O'Dowd

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