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Immigration-reform foes protest

More than 20 people hold signs and chant before marching to the now-closed office of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

October 09, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Dan Russell, from San Diego, center, shouts at passing motorists during an anti-immigration protest on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
Dan Russell, from San Diego, center, shouts at passing… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

Chants of "USA!" and "Wake up, America!" joined the sound of honking horns Tuesday morning as foes of immigration reform rallied in downtown Huntington Beach.

More than 20 people held signs that read "Support Homeless Vets," "Stop Illegal Immigration" and "Hire Americans" at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway in front of Jack's Surfboards.

"That open-door policy that the United States has, it's pathetic and sad," said Vaughn Becht, president of the Garden Grove-based California Coalition for Immigration Reform, which takes issue with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"If they would actually protect our sovereign borders, we wouldn't have the problem that we have today regarding the loss of jobs. The main purpose of the government is to protect their sovereign borders, and you think they're doing a good job? I don't think so."

Becht had been advocating for American workers for years and hoped that the rally would spark politicians to take action, such as closing the borders.

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"If they would do that, that would lessen the problem tremendously," Becht said. "Now whether they're going to do that or not, you have to keep their feet to the fire to do what they're supposed to do. Taking care of business here in the United States, not worrying about the rest of the world and their problems."

The group later marched to the office of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) on Main, which was closed because of the partial federal government shutdown.

A few anti-immigration advocates knocked repeatedly on the door of his empty office.

"I knocked loud enough that it should've awakened the dead," Garden Grove-based activist Michael Hitchens said.

They were there to hand the congressman an envelope containing signed petitions asking him to support Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) and his letter asking House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to not schedule a vote on sweeping immigration-related legislation.

"Homelessness is on the rise, veterans live in poverty, and we want our Congress members to focus on those issues, not individuals who are in our country illegally," said Robin Hvidston, executive director of advocacy group We the People Rising.

Meanwhile, as the rally downtown ended around noon, a pro-immigration reform gathering at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was underway. According to CNN, 200 supporters were arrested, including six House Democrats, for allegedly blocking traffic and refusing to disperse.

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