Immigration groups tap into war debate

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Peter Prengaman/Associated Press/[[March 14, 2007]]/ link

Frustrated by Congress' lack of progress on immigration reform, pro-immigrant activists want to tap into growing anti-war sentiment this spring by combining the two issues at dozens of rallies nationwide.

...Both issues are personal for protest organizer Juan Jose Gutierrez...

...said Gutierrez, president of the Los Angeles-based group Latino Movement USA...

...On Saturday ([[March 17, 2007]]), Latino Movement USA and other immigrant groups will participate in an anti-war rally in Los Angeles being organized nationwide by the ANSWER, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

Another rally is planned in San Bernardino to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

...In Chicago, a group called the March 10 Coalition, which includes several dozen civil rights and immigration groups, voted recently to protest the war at rallies, reversing a decision made last year to avoid Iraq.

At a rally last weekend, demonstrators carried pro-immigrant and anti-war signs. "Everybody took it normally that war and immigration issue are together," spokesman Jorge Mujica said.

Jorge Mario Cabrera, associate director of Carecen, a Hispanic advocacy group in Los Angeles...

...Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said her organization is staying neutral for the sake of members with loved ones in Iraq...

...said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association... "You bet the war should be an issue."

...The 2008 presidential race presents another distraction, said Armando Navarro, coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights, an umbrella organization for Hispanic groups in Southern California.