May Day protesters say Georgia’s immigration laws are unfair

Walter C Jones

ATLANTA — About 150 people, most of them Hispanics, marched at the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday to celebrate May Day, the deliberate Workers’ Day, and to demand the repeal of state laws here and in Alabama that crack down on illegal immigration .

“They are mean, confusing and destructive working-class families,” said Charlie Flemming, president of the North Georgia Labor Council.

He said the law in Georgia would cost farmers $400 million in lost crops due to a shortage of field workers, and estimated the Alabama version would cost $2.3 billion there and create 60,000 jobs.

“We need fair and just immigration in this country. We must stand up for workers’ rights,” he told the crowd, who cheered as a translator translated his comments into Spanish.

The rally was sponsored by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights with support from various other groups. Several Democratic MPs were also present to offer their support.

“Thank you for standing up and speaking for our immigrant community. … They are part of the American Dream,” said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta. “…I want you to know that there are other senators who are on your side.”

Johnny B. Hill, administrative dean of the Baptist School of Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, told the crowd that the time was right for a coalition of religious, labor and civil rights groups to join forces with Latinos and overturn the state’s law change Federal Immigration Act to allow undocumented aliens to obtain U.S. citizens.

“People are tired of being hurt, tired of suffering, tired of being pushed around,” he said

“In fact, we are tired of being bound by a new apartheid system,” he said, comparing the current economic and social conditions to past South African segregation policies.

The march and rally were loud but peaceful. Still, nearly a dozen state troopers were on hand to watch, as was DA King, a vocal supporter of the state’s immigration law known as HB 87.

King, the president of the Dustin Inman Society, advocates strict enforcement of the law. He quietly photographed some of the participants’ homemade signs, such as “Education is a Human Right”, “No Hate” and “Georgia will not grow without immigrants”., (404) 589-8424