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News Specialist John Daley reportingImmigration policy sparks strong emotions as Hispanic Utahns protest for better treatment from federal agencies.
Ten days after more than 100 Latinos were rounded up in a federal raid conducted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, protesters marched to the Capitol today.
Hispanic activists say the raid was a wake-up call, inspiring their community to get organized to lobby state leaders for help.
Members of the Hispanic community came to Capitol Hill today to make a point: Not only are the current policies not working, but those policies are inhumane.
During an INS raid last month in Provo, more than 100 undocumented workers rounded up. Many of those workers were deported, some leaving behind wives and children.
That raid was the last straw for members of the Hispanic community, who rallied in downtown Salt Lake today. They also say the war on terror shouldn't be targeting workers, undocumented or not.
Robert Gallegos/Community Leader/Razpac - "THEY SHOULD BE ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR TERRORISTS NOT FOR WORKERS. IT'S EASY PICKINGS TO GO INTO A BUSINESS AND GO AFTER PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING AND TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING FOR THEIR FAMILIES. AND THAT'S NOT RESOLVING ANYTHING. WE'RE NOT THE PROBLEM. WE'RE TO GOOD GUYS."
But that message is lost on a small group of counter protesters.
"THEY'RE TAKING OUR JOBS."
The demonstration, led by students, is aimed at using the levers of democracy to bring about some change.
Luciano Marzulli Vargas/Mecha/University of Utah - "WE'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE INS HANDCUFFING AND DETAINING AND DEPORTING OUR MOTHERS, FATHERS, SISTERS, BROTHERS AND COWORKERS. YOU CAN CLAP. YEAH!"
James Yapias/Utah Hispanic Democratic Caucus - "THEY ARE BEGINNING TO RECOGNIZE THAT DISCRIMINATION AND ISSUES OF IMMIGRATION THAT ARE AFFECTING THEIR FAMILIES ARE REAL AND THAT'S WHY THEY'RE HERE TODAY TO EXPRESS THOSE CONCERNS."
The group, many of them new to politics, lobbied inside the Capitol for a legislative resolution calling on the federal government to reform its immigration policy.
They recieved a pledge from the governor to support their resolution.
Irma Garcia/University of Utah Student - "WE JUST ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. WE'RE NOT GOING TO STAND STILL ANYMORE AND LET THIS HAPPEN."
No word on whether that resolution is likely to pass or not. It is the last day of the legislative session, and there are certainly many other items competing for attention.