Group plans Fort Myers rally against illegal immigration
Monday, June 19, 2006
Americans Standing Tall has a message to lawmakers and locals: The line has been drawn.
"Instead of sticking our heads in the sand, I like to say we've drawn our line in the sand," said Americans Standing Tall President Harold Poole. "We just feel our country is being invaded by an illegal group of people who really have no right to be in this country ... We can't just pick and choose which laws we choose to enforce and which we choose to ignore."
The 27-member anti-immigration group formed shortly after the April 10 rally in Fort Myers, which drew out an estimated 75,000 to 80,000 protestors who balked the strict immigration laws churning through the Senate. Americans Standing Tall hopes to show in its July 1 "Citizen's Day Rally" on the steps of the Fort Myers City Hall that there is another voice in this debate -- and it's saying illegal immigrants need to pack up and ship out.
"We just need to stop and enforce the laws that are there now," Poole said. "We feel that every year or so (lawmakers) are making new laws which they don't enforce at all."
Organizers are still trying to get the word out but Poole estimated between 200 and 2,000 people will attend.
The Fort Myers Police department will be assigning additional officers to the rally, but the department does not release operational plans for security reasons, said Shelly Flynn, a spokesperson for the police department. The Lee County Sheriff's Office spent more than $300,000 on riot gear for the April 10 march, but has not been contacted for support in the July 1 rally, according to Deputy Angelo Vaughn, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office.