Racist dolts with nothing better to do picketed outside a California church on Sunday trying to make what they called a citizens arrested of a young women and her son who had been granted sanctuary there. The anti-immigrant group Save Our State (pictured here during an earlier protest)* was met by supporters of the women.
The congregation of the Simi Valley United Church of Christ church, backed by numerous other congregations in the county, has provided an unused parsonage to house a 29-year-old woman, who has a 5-month-old son and two other young children who are all U.S. citizens. She is married to a U.S. citizen, who has two jobs and is a homeowner. Liliana, who was born in the state of Michoacan, was caught trying to cross the border illegally from Tijuana to San Diego about nine years ago, after she said she was turned down for a student visa. She crossed again later and moved to Oxnard.
The Ventura County Star reports Immigration and Customs Enforcement people know where she is and an attorney is working to help her gain legal residency. During this time, the 80-member Simi Valley congregation is providing financial and spiritual support.
The New Sanctuary Movement launched in May, states at its web site that it "will enable congregations to publicly provide hospitality and protection to a limited number of immigrant families whose legal cases clearly reveal the contradictions and moral injustice of our current immigration system while working to support legislation that would change their situation."
Daniel Smallwood, one of the counter-protesters at Sunday’s rally, accused the anti-illegal immigration activists of racism and said members of his group joined the rally because they didn't want their ideological opponents "to get all the attention."
During the confrontation, one immigrant-rights advocate was reportedly injured with a chemical spray. Police Capt. John McGinty said police were investigating allegations that an opposing protester was responsible.
Save Our State has been identified as a race-based hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A report from the Center read:
"Anti-immigration activist Joe Turner may be one of the best things to happen to the Southern California white power community in years — a man whose group is seen as a "Trojan horse" allowing radical infiltration of mainstream politics.
Turner, a Ventura, Calif., man who founded the immigrant-bashing Save Our State organization in late 2004, insists that he's no racist, even though his self-described "aggressive activism" includes claims that undocumented Mexican workers are turning California into "a third world cesspool" and his Web site vilifies a variety of prominent Hispanic officials in a "Racialist Hall of Fame."
But neo-Nazis have found in Turner a tolerant master of ceremonies. In rally after rally this year, Turner and other SOS officials have failed to turn away racist Skinheads and likeminded white supremacists who have joined their protests."
Turner says he isn't a racist and it isn't his fault white supremacist seem to hang around with him and his group.
By the way, isn't that the same thing the Minutemen say?
* There has been some question raised about the picture which accompanies this article. The question raised is whether or not these people are from Save Our State. I took the picture from a Southern Poverty Law Center report on the group. The caption reads "Sieg-heiling Skinheads and other white supremacists joined a July 30 Save Our State anti-immigration rally outside a day laborer center in Laguna Beach, Calif.(www.sandiego.indymedia.org)" . So maybe these people just joined the SOS rally. Maybe they don't carry SOS membership cards. You'll have to ask SPLC and San Diego Indymedia that question. To tell you the truth since that is the defense groups like SOS and the Minutemen always have - "we're not racists and we can't help it if racists hang out with us"- I don't much care. There is a reason why white supremacists are drawn to these groups. I wonder if you can figure out why.
The following is from the Ventura County Star (California).
Protesters target Simi church
Group sought citizen's arrest of illegal immigrant inside
Dozens of angry, loud people stood on each side of a Simi Valley church's driveway using bullhorns and overworked vocal cords to hurl insults at each other in an immigration protest Sunday.
They faced off at the United Church of Christ, where a congregation of about 80 people is sheltering an illegal immigrant from Oxnard and her U.S.-born infant son. Wanted for deportation, the woman is living in the church's former parsonage as part of a national New Sanctuary Movement aimed at keeping families together.
The protest was organized by an anti-illegal immigration group called Save Our State that came with the hopes of making a citizen's arrest. Members were met by a small but loud group of counterprotesters calling for amnesty and the end of deportation raids.
Adding to the dynamic were about nine skinheads who tried to join the Save Our State group but were rejected and then directed by police to their own swath of sidewalk. They quietly waved American flags and signs protesting illegal immigration.
No arrests were made — citizen or otherwise — but Naui Huitzilopochtli of Westminster, an immigration advocate, was writhing in pain after being sprayed in the face with a chemical agent, allegedly by an opposing protester. He was taken by ambulance to Simi Valley Hospital. Simi Valley Police Capt. John McGinty confirmed the incident and said it was being investigated.
Some church members watched the demonstration from the driveway but stayed out of the direct fire and even tried unsuccessfully to convince immigration advocates not to stage a counterprotest.
The Rev. June Goudey wouldn't answer questions but said in a statement that the church would continue to provide shelter to Liliana, the Oxnard woman who won't give her last name.
"What we have is a faith stronger than fear and a belief that doing justice is a high and holy calling," Goudey said.
About 120 people came to the protest, many of them from outside Ventura County. United Church of Christ members seemed to be the only ones holding their tongues. Protesters calling for Liliana's deportation carried signs with slogans like "Mothers Against Illegal Aliens" and "Don't Attend this Law Breaker Church."
They alternated between pleas for Liliana to give herself up, and loud, sometimes profane exchanges with counterprotesters.
"We're frustrated Americans," said Save Our State spokeswoman Chelene Nightingale, "and we represent all of the millions of Americans that were calling on Congress to stop amnesty. We're here to let other Americans know that we're here fighting for our nation and for our children."
They wanted to do more than shout. Nightingale said Save Our State members wanted to make a citizen's arrest but realized during the protest they weren't going to get anywhere near Liliana.
So she asked group members to call a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hotline and demand Liliana's arrest.
Closely watched by about 15 police officers, the protesters ranged in age from an 18-year-old community college student from Simi Valley to 80-year-old Dee Barrow of Upland, who wore a wide-brimmed hat as protection against the sun.
"I'm here because I'm for the movement for the illegals to go home," said Barrow.
The counterprotesters carried signs that read "No to Minuteman Terrorism in Ventura County." Though they didn't have bullhorns, the counterprotesters also were loud and profane. They chanted about what they perceive as the driving motivation behind the anti-illegal immigration movement.
"We're opposing racism in all forms," said Daniel Smallwood of Ventura, part of a group called the Anti-Fascist Coalition.
"Basically, we knew the press was going to be here. We didn't want the Minutemen to get all the attention."
Nightingale said her group is multiracial and does not want to be affiliated with any organization that espouses racism.
As for Liliana, a church official said she attended the Sunday morning service held as the rally raged outside. She had no comment on the protest.