Will PA Follow Arizona’s Lead on Immigration Bill?

Protestors at "Philly to Phoenix" rally have plenty to say about that

With Wednesday’s high temps, we here at the Post could have perhaps summoned the stamina to raise a weak shake of our fist if say, our favorite flavor had run out at Capogiro (maybe). But despite the heat, 100 or so people were fired up enough to gather on the front lawn of the Independence Visitor Center yesterday and protest Arizona’s popular new bill (oh, how those snow birds must be relishing the attention!). So we sent our What Philly Thinks reporter to the rally. The gist? Speeches, a march to the Federal Building, chants of “Keep Hate Out Of Our State,” a reverend’s blessing, and one guy who provided the perfect 30-second sound bite—much to the delight of the press throng in attendance. Here, a sampling of who showed up and why.

Who: John Coursey, age 36
Lives in: Philadelphia, Fairmount area
Work: “IT stuff”
Quote: “If you look at what’s happening in Arizona, I think that’s one of the most reactionary pieces of legislation we’ve had in years, and I’m very much against racial profiling and I think we should act against it. Immigrants shouldn’t be used as scapegoats because of problems with the economy, unemployment, etc. There are better fixes for those things than targeting immigrants.”

Who: Cesar Marroquin, age 19
Lives in: Wyndmoor; moved here from Peru when he was 9 years old.
Work: Was a student; now wants to go into the military, perhaps become a Navy Seal
Quote: “My friends went to Arizona and got stopped by cops because the police thought they were Mexicans, and my friends actually have papers. [The Arizona law] hasn’t affected me so much but it’s still wrong what they have done.”

Who: Audrey Hoak, age 58
Lives in: West Philadelphia
Work: Unemployed
Quote: “I’m attending this rally because I think that what they are doing is just criminal, literally criminal, in Arizona. They are trying to spread it all over the country, and that just makes it worse. It’s about controlling people. It’s about profits. And it’s about controlling people who are getting in the way of their profits.”

Who: Ayodele Gansallo, declined to give age
Lives in: Art Museum neighborhood; born in Nigeria
Work: Immigrant lawyer
Quote: “We as a society need to be careful about what we are asking our police to do. Are we asking them to keep us safe and maintain law and order? Or are we asking them to suddenly become immigration officers? I want to support action against the laws in Arizona. I’m aware that there are proposals to introduce some of the laws in Pennsylvania, and I don’t think that anybody should be in support of that kind of legislation. I think that there are lots of people who aren’t aware of what’s going on in the legislature of Pennsylvania.”

Who: Frank Gilanelli
Lives in: Moorestown
Reason at rally: Stumbled upon it during his lunch break
Quote: “You’re not allowed to stop somebody based on the color of their skin, and you’re not allowed to profile. There has to be reasonable cause. But if you get pulled over for a traffic infraction and you don’t have an insurance card, you don’t have a license, and all of a sudden you can’t speak English, and they check it to see if they’re registered and they’re not, then they should be forced to leave the country.”