“This law is unconstitutional,” said a young woman who identified herself by her nickname, La Che. “We’re going to keep fighting... I’ve lived here (in Dalton) all my life. I never thought I’d see something like this happen here.”
The group — of mostly students from Dalton State College, Southeast High School, Dalton High School and Dalton Middle School — stood on the corner of Waugh Street and Thornton Avenue Sunday afternoon in protest of House Bill 87. Most parts of the bill are set to take effect on July 1.
This is the second time a group of students have taken a stand against the bill in Dalton, and La Che says more protests will be planned. The protests are being organized through Facebook, she said.
The group chanted “This is Georgia, not Arizona” while holding signs that stated: “We all deserve the same rights,” “It’s unconstitutional, it’s illegal, it’s HB 87.”
The bill, which has been compared to a law passed in Arizona last year, authorizes police to investigate the immigration status of people suspected of crimes. It also contains penalties for people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants or use fake identification to get a job.
“This is supposed to be a free country,” said one protesters. “They shouldn’t be making laws to take away freedoms,” another said. “Everyone deserves the same rights,” another added.
“This is a pacifist protest,” said a young man who identified himself as King Luther. “We just want to stay here in peace. It should be a diverse country... We’re just looking for a better life.”
Protesters said the group was a mixture of legal and illegal immigrants. King Luther said the reason students are protesting is because most of their parents are illegal and don’t want to risk any trouble with law enforcement officials.
La Che said she has seen a lot of immigrants — both legal and illegal — leave Georgia because of the law.
“This law will effect the economy,” she said.
Click here for more from the Dalton Daily Citizen