Dozens join immigrant worker support rally in Santa Maria

Peaceful demonstration held in downtown

Dozens join immigrant worker support...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Dozens of people came to the busy intersection of Main and Broadway in downtown Santa Maria Monday afternoon to voice frustration, fear and sadness about local immigrant workers and federal immigration policy.

Aracela Alvarez brought her hand-written concerns to the rally and fought back tears talking about the fate of her family members.

"Because we need to visit our families, our little ones, aunts, you know", Alvarez said.

Other participants wanted to raise awareness in the community about the constant fear of deportation undocumented migrant workers and their families are living with under the Trump administration, ICE and U.S. Border Patrol.

"They're scared that police or someone is going to go to their houses and knock on the doors and take them back to Mexico", said rally participant Cynthia Zamora who says she has family members who are here illegally, "I'm here to support them and tell them to not be scared and to speak up."

An alliance of immigrant advocacy groups, social welfare organizations and labor unions, including the California Teachers Association, UFCW Local 770 and United Domestic Workers, joined forces to organize the rally and draw attention to the state Senate Bill 54, also known as the California Values Act, that if passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, would make California a "sanctuary state".

"The California Values Act would essentially put a firewall between local law enforcement, hospitals, churches and ICE, making California a safer place for families so that more families are not torn apart by deportations", said rally organizer Hazel Davalos of CAUSE.

As for Aracela Alvarez, she wanted everyone to know how much she and her family want to stay in the United States.

"The whole family", Alvarez said, "but we love the USA, we love the USA too."

If there were any voices in support of the other side of the contentious issues, including those who believe being an undocumented immigrant is against the law and that new federal immigration rules are also aimed at keeping violent criminals and terrorists out of the country and preventing them from staying, they weren't heard at this peaceful rally on the corner of Main and Broadway Monday afternoon.

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