A hunger for change
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
July 13, 2011 12:00 AM | 7551 views | 95 95 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Salvador Zamora, left, and Martin Altamirano have been on a hunger strike since July 1 in protest against the latest immigration reforms and hopes for better legislation for immigrants. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
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MABLETON - Two middle-aged Hispanic men are on a hunger strike in protest of Georgia's new immigration law, and say they are willing to risk their lives to bring attention to "a hateful anti-immigrant law aimed at us and our brothers and sisters."

The men, who live in a dilapidated apartment building near Pebblebrook High School, began their hunger strike on July 1, the day Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87 into law.

A native of Mexico who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, Salvador Zamora, 49, who said he became a U.S. citizen last year, called the law unconstitutional.

"It was going to let any police officer stop any immigrants just for no reason and ask them for their papers, and that can be used in many ways to violate laws and civil rights," he said.

But it's not just the new Georgia law Zamora said he wants to see amended, but action on the national level with the approval of the DREAM Act.

Also participating in the hunger strike is Martin Altamirano, 45, a Honduras native, who said he moved to the U.S. in the 1990s on a work visa.

Altamirano met Zamora a few months ago in Washington after the former finished a 3,000-mile walk from California to the White House to raise awareness about immigration reform.

Altamirano, who has a daughter at South Cobb High School, works as a general mechanic, while Zamora said he sells vitamins.

Since beginning the strike 12 days ago, the only thing they have allowed themselves to ingest is water laced with honey and lemon, they said.

"We have checkups from doctors," Zamora said. "They want us to stop. They say three days, it's fine, but more than three days, it's dangerous. We know the risk, but we want to continue until some results are done, until we get some results, until we raise awareness with the American people with this problem."

Both men said while they have no desire to die, they will strike until they see change, even if that means death.

"It's a very common question from people about this situation," Altamirano said. "The thing is, Christianity is based on a carpenter that died for the brothers. I don't know why people don't get used to the idea that someone sacrificed for the will of others. I'm willing to do that."

Zamora said he's committed as well.

"When we see food, that's the hardest part. When you see food, you want to eat. It's hard for us when we smell food or see food, it's hard. Your body feels like flying. Headaches. Dizziness. Also cramps. Sometimes cramps."

Rich Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, organized a press conference for the two on Tuesday, and sent out their list of demands to the media.

Pellegrino said the goal is to focus on reform "instead of the current enforcement-only, harsh approach endorsed by Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, and other incarceration-minded states."

The Journal asked state Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), who was involved in helping to pass the immigration bill, what he thought about the strike.

"We are a nation of laws, and we do not apologize for standing up for the rule of law, because it is our sworn duty as well as the very foundation of our society," Golick said. "Our new law in Georgia is not anti-immigrant: It's anti-illegal immigrant."

There is a significant difference between the anti-immigrant and anti-illegal immigrant that the Left never seems to acknowledge, Golick said.

"They simply refuse to accept the fact that our laws apply to everyone - including illegal aliens, no matter how long they have been here in violation of our laws," he said. "We welcome legal immigrants to our communities, and we reject those who have the audacity to attempt to demonize those of us who simply seek to enforce our laws and to protect public resources from being used by those who are here illegally."

Immigration activist D.A. King said he found the protest "a hoot."

"But I am slightly puzzled why (Pellegrino) himself is apparently not participating in the hunger strike," King said.

King said he is grateful for the three for showing mainstream American how extreme they are.

"The list of demands in their little press release includes every loony leftist cliche I can think of, including the requisite reference to the 'Gestapo' in describing their opposition to borders and immigration enforcement," King said.

"As all MDJ readers should, I say 'gracias' to (Pellegrino) and the shrinking protesters for the insight. I hope all Georgians will join me in our ongoing habit of eating at least three times each day to proclaim our approval of HB 87 - which clearly has all the right - and entertaining enemies," King said, noting he was on his way to order a chili dog.
Comments
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InNeed
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July 20, 2011
Dr. Schmuckleberger you rather missed MY point. I totally agree with what you said: "According to existing U.S. Immigration law--THESE FOLKS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE IN OUR BACKYARD!!" and "Here's a flash of truth for you Mr. Pelligrino. United States Immigration Law Code, Title 8, Section 1325, makes everything you have written a MOOT POINT. Unless of course your an anarchist."

It's just a TIRING use of media. VERY TIRING. There are people who DO BELONG here that need the advocacy - and, few to speak for THEM. I need no clarification on US Immigration Law that is not enforced.
Robert Johnson
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July 18, 2011
The chili dog solution. Hmmm. I like the way it sounds
West Cobb Resident
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July 16, 2011
Rich, you are in the extremely small minority here. Stop throwing up these other issues. The one fact you can't get around is that these folks are here ILLEGALLY and they do not belong here! Period!
Dr. Schmuckleberger
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July 16, 2011
Here's a flash of truth for you Mr. Pelligrino. United States Immigration Law Code, Title 8, Section 1325, makes everything you have written a MOOT POINT. Unless of course your an anarchist.
Dr. Schmuckleberger
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July 16, 2011
INneed, Here's a suggestion to help clear your thinking on this topic. According to existing U.S. Immigration law--THESE FOLKS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE IN OUR BACKYARD!!
InNeed
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July 15, 2011
This deserves FAR MORE of ALL OF YOUR attention...human beings who are left behind right in your own backyards. Why don't you spend some of your OBVIOUS FREE TIME going somewhere and donating it to help other people who need the help???????

Read THIS article. HOW SAD THIS ARTICLE IS...HOW HEARTBREAKING THAT 'NO ONE CARED'. ALL OF YOU YAMMERING ON HERE OVER AND OVER SHOULD HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO SPARE TO DO SOMETHING FOR OTHERS...THERE ARE VETS AT THE VA HOSPITAL THAT COULD SURE USE THE HELP, TOO.

DO SOMETHING POSITIVE, *PLEASE*!

http://www.mdjonline.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Missing woman with dementia found dead &id=14709654&instance=secondary_story_left_column#comments_14709654

Rich Pellegrino
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July 15, 2011
These two men,Martin and Salvador,are head and shoulders above both King and Golick who ridicule them and continue to spread falsehoods and myths regarding this issue, mahipulating the ignorant with fear. Golick knows that this is not about the rule of law (otherwise he would not support unconstitutional legislation which he knows will never be enforced) but is about the inability of he and other elected officials to bring jobs and economic growth and deal with the real issues, so they have to find a scapegoat to blame and hide their inadequacies, just like any schoolyard bullies--while they fleece the taxpayers spending millions to defend laws they know will never be enforced, according the police chiefs I've talked to, and grow government (that's right, the smaller govt crowd is behind all of this--whay hypocrites). Golick and King know that all of the independent studies and audits say that undocumented immigrants contribute millions more to the economy and actually help create jobs--so why are they lying and what are they covering up? Perhaps some fasting might help bring them a flash of truth and honesty.
to rkpk
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July 14, 2011
Legal residents are no more at risk from HB 87 than Bo Peabody there down the street. Even if they are here legally, but on a visa, and they commit a crime, they should be sent home.

If an American commits a crime in turkey or Singapore, what happens to him? If an American commits a crime in Mexico, he might disappear in a Mexican prison, or end up dead on the side of the road. So what's your point? The world's a mean, mean place when you take such risks. If you don't want the risk, stay home.
Yeah right
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July 14, 2011
The one guy says he sells vitamins?

Excuuuse me if I don't believe that for a minute. Dudes, if you want to do something good for your people, why don't you try and stop the gang activity at your daughter's school? Take the educations MY people are giving your kids, and be happy that they get anything at all.

This is not about civil rights. It's not even about human rights. It's about your people invading our country and our government sitting on their tails while you send billions to your piece of dirt, bring drugs and "vitamins" here to our kids and refuse to learn English or assimilate into our communities.

You can strike and demand, but as you can see by at least 83 comments below it will get you nowhere. Because our constitution says WE get to have a say about this invasion.
Axeman
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July 14, 2011
@rkpt...what the heck are you babbling about...law adiding legal immigrants have nothing to fear...just like any other citizen if you are a legal immigrant and are in prison it is because you broke the law...not because you are an immigrant...generally anyone who breaks the law goes to jail...the only people who have anything to fear are people who are here illegallly...and they should be afraid just like any other criminal...and by the way I am a legal immigrant and law abiding citizen of this country and I am not afraid...I have nothing to hide or fear...
rkpk
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July 14, 2011
Legal Residents are also at risk. Even people here on permanent green cards that work, pay taxes, contribute to the economy are threatened by Georgia laws. There are people currently in PRISON for misdemeanors because they are not citizens. They are here legally, but instead of going to court and paying a fine, they are picked up by ICE put in prison with the threat of deportation. I am talking about LEGAL IMMIGRANTS - not illegal. This story is about 2 men, one man who is a citizen, and one man who is a LEGAL immigrant. I don't understand how this article can be read, and someone make the comment that they are probably here illegally.

If more people really knew how many people were effected by the laws here - law abiding people, they would be outraged. There is definitely a difference between legal and not legal, but law enforcement does not treat them that way.

Hunger strikes have been used throughout history as mean of peaceful protest. These men had nothing hateful to say, just that they wanted people to understand the impact of the new laws.

upagainstit
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July 14, 2011
If I don't find a job soon I'm going on a hunger strike, hoping the Feds will force feed me.
evan gammage
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July 14, 2011
Overheard at a dilapidated apartment in Mableton: Hunger strike? What the hell were we thinking?
LostNTime
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July 14, 2011
Its a fruitless task.. The INS does not process anyone's papers in a humane time frame anyway this is why many people become illegals in the first place.

If you are told pay thousands in fees and you see others have waited between 15-30 years to be processed and never actually get their papers the legal way because the INS simply gives one impossible request to follow after another you are are always going to end up with more illegals because they simply say F-it and stay anyway..

Start processing peoples applications in a legit humane manner stop ripping off applicants stop leaving them in the dark with never ending wait time frames and you will see illegal numbers dwindle down to a few million.

Millions of illegals have legal paths into the USA through citizen parents brothers and sisters but give up on a corrupt anti immigrant INS.
NorthCobbResident
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July 14, 2011
This is a form of terrorism at its best. These two guys are threatening to harm themselves by going on a hunger strike in an effort to scare us into changing our laws to give them automatic citizenship so they can side step the process already in place. Wake up America, our government is worried about Al-Qaeda attacking and destroying us when in fact it is goons like this that are destroying this country. Our local police or sheriff's department needs to go down there and arrest these two goons then take them to the county jail for processing and have them shipped back the Mexico.
Miss Molly
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July 14, 2011
All the comments in this board are the new American shame
Georgia Patriot
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July 14, 2011
I DISAGREE! I THANK THE MDJ FOR THE COVERAGE - AND D.A. King's hilarious comment! I HOPE ALL ILLEGALS FAST UNTIL ALL AMERICANS GIVE UP..which will be never.
Dr. Schmuckleberger
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July 14, 2011
This stuff is so bizarre I can't believe it sometimes. These newspapers, across the country, give their time and energy to the smallest, stupidest, topic involving those that have entered this country illegally and haven't the slightest business being here. It'a kind of soft civil war, between the leftist newspaper media and regular hard working taxpaying, American citizens. It's surreal.
A Taxpayer
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July 13, 2011
I love D. A. King's comments at the bottom! I would say "please don't waste the ink" on such ridiculous anti-enforcement publicity stunts like the one these two bozos are pulling, but those comments really sum up what is going on here. (Wonder why the article doesn't mention the shaving strike...?)
Guess What
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July 13, 2011
If we let all people come to the U.S illeagly Mexico would not have a drug cartel problem because their would be no people to run it in Mexico. Illegal is illegal no matter the reason. If this pic was just taken they realy look well for not eating for almost two weeks.
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