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7/30/2014 2:52:00 PM
Arizonans join those urging White House to include immigrants in debate
Phoenix resident Gerardo Torres, right, joins protesters in front of the White House demanding that undocumented immigrants be involved in any new administration meetings on immigration policy. (Cronkite News Service photo by Julianne DeFilippis)
Phoenix resident Gerardo Torres, right, joins protesters in front of the White House demanding that undocumented immigrants be involved in any new administration meetings on immigration policy. (Cronkite News Service photo by Julianne DeFilippis)

Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON - Phoenix resident Gerardo Torres said immigrants have "ideas that are really going to help" communities affected by immigration policies - if only President Barack Obama would ask.

Torres was one of a number of protesters outside the White House Monday urging the president to include immigrant voices at the table during any policy meetings, arguing that there should be "no negotiation without representation."

Torres, an undocumented immigrant who has lived in Phoenix for more than 20 years, said there are immigrants here illegally who are "willing and able to be at the table," but that so far none have been included.

"In all these meetings that they have been having at the White House about the immigration issues and all that, the undocumented people haven't been invited to the table," Torres said. "We wanted to be invited, we wanted to be involved."

The protest was organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network as part of its "Not One More" campaign, which aims to end deportations and what it calls unjust immigration laws.

The protest brought out about a dozen representatives from different groups who chanted and waved signs for less than an hour, drawing the occasional quizzical look from passing tourists and workers on lunch breaks.

"The main thing we want right now is to stop the deportations of the people," Torres said. Once that has been accomplished, they can start talking about the next steps toward "better immigration reform," he said.

The protest was not the group's only action Monday - protesters also took their message earlier in the day to other advocacy groups that have been included in meetings on immigration policy.

Those visits - to the National Immigration Forum, the Center for American Progress and other organizations - asked those groups to stand with undocumented immigrants and boycott the meetings until those affected by the policies are included as well, one protester said through a megaphone.

"No more meetings about us, without us," the protesters chanted. "Nobody represents us, we represent ourselves."

The protesters included undocumented individuals from a variety of groups around the country, said Jerssay Arredondo, an undocumented immigrant who has lived in Arizona for most of his life. They came to "call out Obama and these organizations that are having these meetings," he said.

"Obama is holding these secret meetings with these groups that claim to represent us, but there is no one at the table that is directly affected," he said.

Arredondo said including undocumented immigrants at the table would show "what immigration looks like to us."

"Obama, you need these people, you need to hear them out because these are the ones that are affected and these are the ones you are going to be able to help," he said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Article comment by: Dan LEmpke

After reading all the comments on this story, it seems like everyone is in agreement - deport the illegals. So why do we keep voting for John McCain and Jeff Flake, who support amnesty for them?

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: Here's A Novel Idea

Let's deport all of the illegals to Central America and see if they can find their way back - like the 6 years old apparently can...

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: Hard To Believe

In no other nation in the history of the world can/could someone residing illegally therein protest so vocally at the capitol and not be arrested and deported.

And that includes Mexico.


Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

There is a National Day Laborer Organizing Network?

Then there must be organizers who are aware that undocumented immigrants have no legal standing in any nation in the world. They remain here on sufferance and are able to demonstrate due to Americans' good will.

Rather than marching on Washington D.C. to demand the absurd, why don't these privileged activists march to the southern border and demonstrate an ability to solve the mystery of a river of "children" suddenly flowing from Central America through Mexico. These new comers certainly aren't doing their cause any good. If they could resolve the government's quandary, Americans might agree they'd earned a fast track to citizenship for themselves.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: ILLEGAL ALIEN

How pathetic that the media now refers to illegal aliens as "undocumented immigrants"! Wouldn't want to offend lawbreakers would you? Most are NOT immigrants because they have no intention of assimilating into American culture, language or learning of the country's founding. Take a look at west or south Phoenix, crime ridden U.S. version of Mexico. The organizations behind these groups only believe in the U.S. Constitution as a tool to file lawsuits to destroy the country, counting on complicit progressive judges who rule in their favor based on political leaning rather than the law.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: B. Inclusive

Why just illegal immigrants? I'll bet there are plenty of other lawbreakers who have some great ideas that would "really help" the criminal community.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: uncommon sense uncommon sence

Where doe's he get his money to galivant all
over the country?
I bet he's on food stamps,medical,etc.It's time
to stand up and be counted as the illegals will
run this country in 10yrs.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: Big Sky Lady

If he's an undocumented immigrant, or an alien, he has no rights in this country to have representation. Our immigration laws are not unjust as he claims. He should be arrested and deported for being in this country for 20 years as an alien. Period.

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Article comment by: Ask Mexico to represent you

Let's be clear about something: if you're here illegally, you have no rights of a citizen. You should not expect to represented. You should ask your home country's government to represent you.

We owe these people nothing. They are breaking our laws and costing us billions to educate, medicate, and incarcerate them.

Enough's enough. Elect people who will enforce our laws.

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