Light-Up-the-Border Drive Turned Off as Officials Pledge Action

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The San Diego-based Light-Up-the-Border movement, sponsor of huge monthly protests that have focused international attention on illegal immigration, will stop its highly publicized gatherings pending the results of initiatives planned by authorities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The lighting movement, which began seven months ago as scattered citizen's protests, managed to galvanize concerns about the continued rampant illegal immigration in the border area, particularly in San Diego, the most concentrated crossing zone along the almost 2,000-mile boundary.

Critics, who mounted simultaneous counter-protests, assailed the lighting effort as a racist manifestation of growing resentment among established Southern Californians, mostly those of European ancestry, against newer immigrants from Latin America and elsewhere. But supporters said the protests were only intended to pressure authorities to restore order to the border.

The movement's founder, Muriel Watson, widow of a longtime U.S. Border Patrol pilot, said Friday that she had decided to suspend the actions because officials in the United States and Mexico have promised to act.

This week, U.S. officials vowed to post more immigration agents along the border strip, and have placed additional lighting amid the rugged terrain. San Diego police, meantime, have pledged to assign more officers to the border area to reduce attacks on migrants.

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