Angry over illegal immigration they say depresses wages and displaces American workers, hundreds of people called for stricter border enforcement during a rally Monday evening at Mill Creek Park.
The rally came in response to two recent Kansas City rallies at which thousands of people called for undocumented immigrants to be given a path to citizenship.
“The open border crowd says they don’t want a 700-mile wall” built on the U.S.-Mexico border, law professor Kris Kobach told the crowd of at least 700. “I don’t want that either. I want a 2,000-mile wall.”
The crowd erupted in cheers, whistles and applause.
Then he called on the federal government to make sure employers verify an applicant’s legal status before hiring the worker.
That comment also met with long, loud applause.
“What a concept,” he said, “making employers follow the law.”
Rally attendees said one solution is just enforcing immigration laws already in place.
“If we started enforcing the laws against employing illegals, that would go a long way” toward halting illegal immigration, said Mike Dinneny of Blue Springs.
D.A. King has held lonely protests against illegal immigration, even paying participants to hold signs and stand with him. He needed no such help Monday.
The Cobb County activist was joined at the Capitol by dozens protesting recent calls for amnesty by illegal immigrants.
King estimated that the crowd swelled to 300 at one point, though Capitol police estimated it as less than half that number.
“I don’t know how many people are here today, but there’s 10,000 times this many people thinking the same thing we are thinking,” King told the crowd.
Many in the crowd waved American flags and held signs reading, “Illegal Aliens Are Criminals,” “Enforce Our Laws,” “Secure Our Borders,” “Pay For Your Own Babies and Healthcare” and “Margaritas Yes Illegals No.”
A few protesters wore sombreros and held inflatable characters, including a jalapeño pepper with a “No amnesty” message. A small group of counterprotesters stood across the street, at least one with a sign reading, “Go Back to Europe.”
The noontime crowd roared its approval when King informed them that Gov. Sonny Perdue planned to sign Senate Bill 529 later in the day—which he did. The measure, passed by the General Assembly in March, seeks to crack down on illegal immigrants and those who hire them.
King said he was motivated in part by the recent show of strength by Hispanics, who have taken to the streets en masse in major U.S. cities, including Atlanta. He stirred the crowd with his opening: “I am an American citizen who has had enough!”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), addressed the rally, as did state Reps. Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) and Matt Dollar (R-Marietta). Catherine Davis, a candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat, and John Konop, running in the 6th Congressional District, also spoke.