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Groups rally in opposition of AZ immigration law


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds of people gathered at Utah's state capitol Thursday evening to rally communities in opposition to Arizona-style legislation that is currently being drafted in Utah.


They're putting fear into these people, and it's their scare tactics to try and scare them out of this country, and it's not the way to go about it.

–Yahaira Avalos, rally organizer


The rally was put together by six different community groups who say their voices aren't being heard often enough. They came together with a unified message to Utah lawmakers: Don't pass any laws similar to Arizona's controversial immigration bill.

"We're trying to solve a problem," said event organizer Lola Reyes. "We don't want any type of SB 1070 bill in Utah."

That's the Arizona bill everyone is talking about; and with recent events in Utah, like the release of the now infamous "list," these groups are hoping to stop any potential similar immigration laws in Utah. They compare what's already happened to terrorism.

"They're putting fear into these people, and it's their scare tactics to try and scare them out of this country, and it's not the way to go about it," said event organizer Yahaira Avalos.

But two men standing on the other side of the Capitol rotunda wanted their message heard too. They say if you're illegal, you're breaking the law; and they were asking those at the rally to stop using racism as an excuse to break the law.

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"I'm somewhat disgusted by it, honestly," said Murray resident Henry Miller. "Criminals do not have rights in this country. They think they can simply flout our laws by showing up. While the rest of the American populous apparently does not care enough, we do. That's why we're here."

But that's also why the protesters were there -- because they care too, saying immigrant rights are human rights, all the while knowing the controversy won't stop here.

"It's emotional because we have to feel compassion for humans," Reyes said.

"I hope we can do our part to try and galvanize the rest of the Americans to make sure their voices are heard," Miller said.

The group also had a message regarding the list -- the list that purported 1,300 illegal names on it. They want make sure that the people behind that list are prosecuted; and not just the two that were identified, but anyone else that may be behind it.

The group says more rallies will be planned for the future, especially when lawmakers get back into session and start seriously talking about immigration reform.

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Story compiled with contributions from Alex Cabrero and Paul Nelson.

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