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Minutemen rally against amnesty

About 125 anti-illegal immigration activists protest in Valencia

Posted: January 16, 2010 8:33 p.m.
Updated: January 17, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Minuteman leader Roger Gitlin addresses the crowd at the anti-illegal alien rally at the corner of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway on Saturday.

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American flags and "Don't Tread on Me" banners flapped in the breeze as about 125 people gathered Saturday to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen, it was the second annual anti-illegal immigration rally held outside the SCV Sheriff's Station at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard.

A mostly white crowd listened and cheered as several speakers voiced disapproval for both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush and decried proposed federal legislation that would give amnesty to the estimated millions of illegal immigrants in America.

"If we would just deal with the illegals we wouldn't have a deficit in the state of California," said City Councilman Bob Kellar, his voice booming through a crackling public-address system. "This is an American problem. We've got to take back our country.

"If I sound like a radical, thank you. I consider that a compliment."

Fueling the recent furor is an immigration-reform bill championed by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. The bill proposes a path to legalization for the country's illiegal immigrants.

Local Minuteman leader Roger Gitlin said while amnesty is not the answer, there are solutions.

"Nobody is calling for mass deportation," he said. "It would put the economy in a tailspin."

Gitlin proposed securing America's borders, and initiating an immigration census to determine people's status and whether or not they have a criminal record.

"Let's get rid of criminals and make sure they don't come back," he said.

For the law-abiding illegal immigrants who remain, he said, steps need to be put in place for them to pursue citizenship.

Gitlin used the example of a 30-something house painter he knows, who he said is a tax-paying illegal immigrant.

"(He's) not the problem," he said.

Canyon Country resident Homer Temple said race is not the issue, but the state of the nation.

"It's not a xenophobic thing," he said. "I firmly believe blue-collar Americans ... are pro-legal citizenship."

Mario Alvarez of Canyon Country said he came to America from Mexico City 49 years ago and has been a citizen since 1979.

He said the solution to the illegal immigration situation includes closing the borders and levying fines against immigrants here illegally and giving them a path toward citizenship.

"They should find their place in line," he said.

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