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March for Our Rights rally at L.A. City Hall takes aim at 'sanctuary state' law

March for Our Rights rally at L.A. City Hall takes aim at 'sanctuary state' law
Singer Joy Villa at the March for Our Rights rally at L.A. City Hall on Saturday. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

The recently formed grass-roots organization Freedom Rights staged a march and rally Saturday in downtown Los Angeles to protest the creation of “sanctuary” cities, laws and policies intended to provide protections for immigrants in the country illegally.

“This protest is in support of the full U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in its entirety,” said Drew Ybarra, who helped organize the event. “We want to show the corrupt government of the state and the federal government how we will feel about sanctuary states. Our voices will be heard.”

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Several cities across the state have opposed or challenged the California Values Act, the so-called sanctuary law that took effect Jan. 1 and has come under fire from the Trump administration. It restricts local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials in many cases.

Saturday’s March for Our Rights rally was one of more than 20 similar events planned in states including Tennessee, North Carolina, Montana, Michigan and New York. Only about 20 people participated in the L.A. demonstration, which got underway at 1 p.m. outside City Hall.

Protesters gather in front of L.A. City Hall for the March for Our Rights rally.
Protesters gather in front of L.A. City Hall for the March for Our Rights rally. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

Patrick Posz and his family drove from Rancho Palos Verdes for the event. He said he was there to observe, but noted that he was generally supportive of “the entire movement.”

“People should read that law,” he said of the California Values Act. “It has a lot of loopholes in it that would make California weaker.”

Miriam Folger, who was dressed in a “Make America Great Again” hat and a “Trump 2020” shirt, was live streaming the event along with several other protesters. She said she was there to speak out against illegal immigration.

“My ancestors went through Ellis Island. Why can’t these people wait their turn to come in?” she said, pointing her cell phone camera at a reporter’s face. “If they follow the laws, and want to contribute and help build California, they are welcome.”

Joy Villa, a singer and vocal Trump supoprter who made a splash at the 2017 Grammys when she arrived wearing a “Make America Great Again” dress, was also among the demonstrators.

She said the one thing that united them was their belief in the Constitution.

“I’m in culture, politics and the arts, and I fully support what is going on here today,” she said. “We have to protect our right to freedom of speech.”

5:15 p.m.: This article was updated with new comments from demonstrators.

This article was originally posted at 1:10 p.m.

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