Residents hold immigration rally

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Veronica Serda, left, leads chants as Victoria Flores, center, and other immigrant rights supporters marched Tuesday on Main Street. The group stopped in front of the Curry County Courthouse to spread their message.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Dressed in white to symbolize peace and carrying colorful signs — including one that read “No human is illegal. Racism is illegal” — more than 100 area residents marched Tuesday in support of immigration rights.

The march was a repeat of last year’s event held at the height of the immigration-law reform debate.

Event coordinator Flor Acosta, 34, said the purpose of the this year’s rally, dubbed the Great American Boycott II, was to push Congress to stop persecuting illegal Mexican immigrants.

Maria Armendariz was among the marchers who marched on the sidewalks of downtown Clovis proudly waving American and Mexican flags in a town that is more than 33 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Armendariz, 29, said she hoped the peaceful demonstration would “get a response from Congress.”

“I’m an illegal worker,” she said, “and I want amnesty because I have worked here (in the United States) for seven years.”

The single mother of two young daughters said she came to the U.S. to give her children a better life.

Lydia Pineda, who became a U.S. citizen four years ago, said she chose to participate because undocumented citizens are hard workers who have helped the U.S. economy for years.

“The process to become a citizen was difficult,” Pineda said. “I would like to see it made easier.”

Ben Salazar also joined the march. Although Salazar, 53, was born in the United States, he said illegal immigrants deserve a chance at citizenship.

“This (immigration reform) needs to be addressed in a positive and constructive way,” Salazar said. “If they (illegal immigrants) meet the guidelines that are set up then they deserve amnesty.”