[URBANTH-L]NEWS: Immigration activists get decree from mayor (San Diego)

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Sun Oct 1 21:17:08 EDT 2006


Immigration activists get decree from mayor
By Elizabeth Fitzsimons
October 1, 2006

NATIONAL CITY - Mayor Nick Inzunza declared National City an immigrant
sanctuary in a proclamation he presented to immigrants rights activists
during dueling rallies that brought about 400 people to City Hall yesterday.

The San Diego Minutemen, and immigrants rights supporters faced off on
National City Boulevard with about 130 peace officers in riot gear between
them to keep the crowds from mixing. The crowds appeared to be near even in

Inzunza didn't leave City Hall, for fear of inciting violence. Instead, he
invited immigration rights activist Enrique Morones inside to receive the

"We're still a nation of laws. We still have a constitution that protects
us. That's what we're saying," Inzunza told reporters.

Early last month, Inzunza announced his plan to declare the city a sanctuary
for immigrants, though a majority City Council vote is required to
officially establish it.
In a sanctuary city, municipal funds cannot be used for enforcing federal
immigration laws, which is already the case in National City.

Inzunza said yesterday that the proclamation was a way of memorializing
National City policies, such as the Spanish translation for council meetings
and the city's acceptance of the Matricula Consular identification cards,
issued by the Mexican government through its consulates, as an official ID.
The card shows that the bearer is a Mexican citizen who is living outside of

The proclamation also notes how Inzunza has denounced any efforts to break
constitutional law and violate civil liberties, and rejected "the hysteria
being created to align immigrants with terrorists, homeland security, or any
other threat to our nation."
Inzunza said he hoped the proclamation would "let the community know we are
on the right side of the law."

The rallies, which began about 11:30 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m., went more
smoothly than similar demonstrations last week, when one person was
arrested, said National City police Capt. Manuel Rodriguez. No one was
arrested yesterday.

Rodriguez said police learned from last time not to let people into the
street. So yesterday, each group was kept on its respective sidewalk. Law
enforcement from each agency in the county was represented, including
mounted police from San Diego and El Cajon and a sheriff's helicopter, which
circled overhead.

In preparation for the protests, the city canceled events at Kimball Park
and closed the library for the day.

Morones, the immigrants rights activist who organized the rally, said more
than 1,000 signatures had been collected in support of the mayor's

National City's proclamation was only the beginning, Morones said. He hoped
other cities would follow.

"This proclamation tells our people they're welcome here," Morones said.
"We're all the same race - the human race."

Across the street, the anti-illegal immigration side called for Inzunza to
come outside.
"The people of this community are countering Nick Inzunza's declaration with
our own declaration that this is not a sanctuary city," said Jeff Schwilk,
founder of the San Diego Minutemen, which started out as volunteers
patrolling the border in search of illegal immigrants.

"The drug dealers and the human smugglers cannot come here and hide."
By about 1:30 p.m., Minutemen supporters began leaving. Close to 2 p.m. one
man was left, waving an American flag while the crowd across the street
chanted "Go home! Go home!"

He finally did when a police officer offered him an escort down the block.
With him gone, the immigrants rights group started drifting away.

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