Thousands attend town hall meeting

An estimated 2,500 people packed the Fox Theater, the overflow room and the street in the name of immigration reform Monday. The Bakersfield town hall meeting was organized by PICO California, a multi-million dollar faith based national organization.

BAKERSFIELD, CA -- An estimated 2,500 people packed the Fox Theater, the overflow room and the street in the name of immigration reform Monday.

The Bakersfield town hall meeting was organized by PICO California, a multi-million dollar faith based national organization.


The 15 pilgrims who walked from Sacramento to Bakersfield to raise awareness for immigration rights were there to tell the story of their 285 mile journey.


Organizers urged citizens to call their congressman in support of immigration reform and to vote against the SAFE Act, legislation that would make it a federal crime to violate immigration laws.


Afterwards attendees, from all over the state, loaded buses to go to Congressman Kevin McCarthy's office for a prayer vigil.

An altar has been setup to display symbolic gestures of their faith as they seek divine intervention in the immigration debate.


"Everything is based on GOD,” said Rosalinda Galaviz. “Hopefully God will touch his heart and his family."


The Tea Party, which did not have a presence at the vigil has a different view. Their supporters have told 17 News every immigrant should wait their turn and not jump the line for citizenship.

One man of muslim faith, who walked in the pilgrimage, disagrees.


"They (immigrants) have been waiting for the last 20 years in this country,” said Imam Shakeel Syed. “They are not jumping ahead of (the) line they are not breaking any law. It is law that is breaking him for the last 20 years. So my brothers in (the) Tea Party are dead wrong.”


The rally for immigration reform will continue with another event scheduled October fifth.
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