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Peaceably to Assemble

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With divisive leigislation pending in the House of Representatives and the immigrant rights march coming up Monday to protest it, the United States again gets to address the question of who gets to come here and whether they help or unintentionally harm their new country. According to their site, the goals of the coalition organizing the march are "to keep immigrant families together, protect our civil rights, pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and mobilize mass public action and support to win such reforms." The details could still be debatable, then -- "comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship" could take a number of different forms -- but at this point they seem interested in rallying anyone at least interested in having that conversation.

It's absolutely fair to ask that people not start off their residence or citizenship in the United States by disobeying its laws. It's also good to remember that you can flip that thought around and address what the laws ought to be. How many people to let in from each other nation is a debate every generation addresses, because that's how this country works. It's fair to worry about the effects of a huge influx of immigrants on wages and living conditions. It's also fair to remember how many people have worked their way to better lives in this country. Potato famine in Ireland? Nazis killing Jews in Germany and Poland? Armenia getting attacked? Is that our problem? See, that's the thing about "us," the US: Pretty much every native-born American who wants to keep immigrants out, as well as those who feel that more immigration is fine, is the descendant of someone whose ancestors came here to make a better life, and that's worth remembering as we consider this question.

The marches are scheduled to block off Broadway downtown in the morning from Olympic Boulevard to the Hollywood Freeway, and Wilshire Boulevard between Alvarado Street and La Brea Avenue from 2:00 to 8:00 pm. Also, word is that Wilshire Boulevard will also be shut down from La Brea to Cloverdale for media parking, starting at either 9 am or noon, depending on the source you read. Plan for traffic if you're not already planning to march.

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Photo from Don Garza.