Groups Clash Over Immigration at Church

AP, September 17, 2007

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Dozens of activists on both sides of the illegal immigration debate faced off outside a church where an illegal immigrant is being sheltered with her U.S.-born infant son.

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Members of the anti-illegal immigration group Save Our State, which organized the rally that drew about 120 protesters and counter-protesters, said they had hoped to make a citizen’s arrest of the woman, who has identified herself only as Liliana.

The woman has been living in the church’s former parsonage as part of the New Sanctuary Movement, which arranges church accommodations for illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Group members shouted for Liliana, who lived in Oxnard before taking shelter at the church, to give herself up.

“I’m here because I’m for the movement for the illegals to go home,” protester Dee Barrow said.

Daniel Smallwood, one of the counter-protesters, accused the anti-illegal immigration activists of racism and said members of his group joined the rally because they didn’t want their ideological opponents “to get all the attention.”

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