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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    North Carolina

    Sen. Mel Martinez Fears Rally Could Hurt Cause

    Senator Fears Rally Could Hurt Cause


    Published: May 3, 2006

    TAMPA - Immigrants rallying for a chance to become legal U.S. residents sent a message to politicians on Monday - one that could make that goal harder to reach, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez said Tuesday.

    Martinez is working to win votes for a compromise bill that would offer citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements.

    But the sight of thousands waving the flags of Mexico and other countries on the streets Monday did nothing to bolster their cause in the Senate, Martinez said in an e-mail to The Tampa Tribune on Tuesday.

    Asked whether it had made his job harder, the Orlando Republican said: "It potentially has."

    Immigrants across Florida and the United States stayed away from shops, work and school to observe the May 1 Day Without Immigrants. Hundreds of thousands rallied across the country. About 7,000 gathered on Dale Mabry Highway near Raymond James Stadium.

    Businesses throughout the Tampa area reported few disruptions. Builders felt it the hardest. Some construction sites nearly shut down for the day. Most builders expect to quickly make up for the lost time, said Joseph Narkiewicz, of the Tampa Bay Builders Association.

    Overall, the impact was more symbolic than tangible.

    Martinez, a Cuban immigrant, said he was happy the demonstrators were peaceful and that many carried U.S. flags. But many didn't, waving instead the colors of their Latin American nations. And that angered people who support measures to force all undocumented immigrants out of the country.

    "What we've seen in the protest is misguided leadership trying to push for things that are not doable, trying to create a movement," Martinez said. "Let's just deal with the immigrant population here, do the right thing, standing for American values.

    "What we need is cooperation, is moving together, being more American."

    Organizers say creating a movement is a necessary step.

    "Four months ago, I never imagined this response to be so proud, strong and connected," said Maria Rodriguez, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

    "We are building these organizations and integrating them," she said.

    In two weeks, a group of organizers from across the country plans to visit Martinez and others in Washington.

    "We are going to speak to legislators honestly about immigration."

    As the movement develops, she said, it's spreading to causes beyond immigration, such as getting the citizens who attend the rallies to register to vote.

    Voter registration tables are part of the landscape at protests. About 100 were registered to vote at the Tampa demonstration, said organizer Blanca Gonzalez, of Immigrants United for Freedom.

    "At a statewide level, it's impressive the discipline the grass-roots groups and the crowds have shown," said Juan Pablo Chavez, organizer for the Immigrant Coalition in Miami. "Now it's time to reach the political level."

    It's the voters who will make a difference, he said.

    Martinez's immediate concern is the votes of other senators.

    In early April, Martinez helped build support for a bill that attempted to answer the concerns of people on both sides of the partisan debate.

    It toughened border security, but it also created more opportunities for undocumented immigrants to become legal workers and residents. They would have to meet several requirements, such as passing a background check and paying back taxes.

    The agreement collapsed before a two-week recess. Since returning, Martinez said, he's been trying to revive the measure. Monday didn't help, but he's hopeful.

    "I do think that there still is that middle course."
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    IL: "The Most Corrupt State in The Country outside of Mexico"
    This guy's a scumbag.

  3. #3
    Senior Member WavTek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North Carolina
    There's nothing middle about the course he wants to steer, it's full blown amnesty.

  4. #4
    sherbug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Stockbridge, GA
    Keep calling and emailing your Senators and Congressmen. Before the Easter break the House promised not to pass any Bill will amnesty. They are the only governing that can kill the whole Bill.

    So lets not let them be swayed by this recent gesture of the Latin American Coalition of Moochers offering to pay for thier citizens to live here.

    Call the White House comment line and tell Bush to just say no.

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