Protesters fight back against feds’ handling of border surge


THE SPARK: Demonstrators confront each other July 4 outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif. Demonstrators on both sides of the immigration debate had gathered where the agency was foiled earlier in an attempt to bus in and process some of the immigrants who have flooded the Texas border with Mexico.

By Johnny Kampis |

CULLMAN, Ala. — An Alabama organizer of protests against the recent flood of undocumented people into the United States says she hopes the gatherings fuel a movement against the feds’ handling of the border surge.

Residents of Birmingham and Huntsville will join others Friday and Saturday in cities across the country in protesting illegal immigration.

More than a dozen groups, led by Make Them Listen and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, are encouraging like-minded people to gather in more than 300 locations to protest the Obama administration’s immigration policies.

Deanna Frankowski, a Make Them Listen member who is organizing the local protests, told Alabama Watchdog states are trying to fight back against the feds bringing undocumented immigrants into their borders.

“We’re just allowing people to have a place to vent their frustration,” she said. “I think the more attention it gets across the country, the more people will be emboldened to fight the federal government.”

PROTESTING THE SURGE: Groups concerned about illegal immigration plan more than 300 protests across the United States,

The protests in Birmingham are planned for a spot in front of Walmart on U.S. 280 from 7-9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to dusk Friday and 9 a.m. to dusk Saturday. In Huntsville, protesters will meet on the Interstate 565 overpass on Triana Boulevard from 5-8 p.m. Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday.

Protests in other states will take place at state capitals, immigration drop-off points and detention facilities.

Paul Arnold, director of Make Them Listen and the chief organizer of the event, wrote in a news release the protests “are designed to raise public awareness and opposition to the Obama-inspired illegal immigration surge on our Southern border. Obama has become our ‘Smuggler in Chief’ and his illegal immigration agenda is putting American jobs, taxpayer resources, and lives at risk.”

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to care for the thousands of people — primarily teen males — who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The money would also be used to hire additional judges and lawyers to help expedite the process of sending undocumented immigrants back to their home countries.

About 52,000 unaccompanied children have been caught at the border since October, double the number from the prior year.

Republicans on Capitol Hill largely blame a 2008 human trafficking law for the influx. That law allows minors entering the country from Central America to request asylum hearings. Most of the immigrants have been from Guatemala and El Salvador.

Nebraska and Virginia are among the states far from the southern border in which those undocumented immigrants have been placed as they await deportation hearings. Hundreds may be sent to Wisconsin.

Congress photo

ROUGH HANDLING: Brooks isn’t please with how the Obama administration has dealt with the border surge.

The federal government originally planned to send some to a Federal Emergency Management Agency facility in Anniston, but backed off that idea.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said recently he disagrees with the Obama administration’s interpretation of the 2008 law.

“The Obama administration ties the hands of American border patrol agents by denying them the ability to expeditiously return these unaccompanied minors,” Brooks said.

The Alabama Legislature passed one of the toughest illegal immigration laws in the country in 2011, but a federal judge overturned much of it in 2013. The original statute barred contracts and government transactions with undocumented workers, required immigration information for public school enrollment and allowed police officers to check immigration status of people during routine traffic stops. Immigrants were required to carry proof of lawful immigration status at all times.