YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Mahony Asks Migrants to Skip Boycott

Seeking `positive action' for reform, the cardinal urges immigrants and their supporters to stay in class or on the job, then join a May 1 rally.

April 18, 2006|Teresa Watanabe | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, a leading voice for immigration reform, is urging immigrants and their supporters not to participate in a boycott of jobs, schools and consumer activity that some activists are organizing for May 1.

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles made national headlines last month when he said that he would direct his priests to defy proposed immigration legislation that would make felons of undocumented immigrants and those who help them. That bill was passed last year by the House of Representatives.

But, in a statement released Sunday, Mahony called for "positive action" to drive the reform campaign forward, such as classroom and workplace discussions.

"Personally, I believe we can make May 1st a 'win-win' day here in Southern California: Go to work, go to school and then join thousands of us at a major rally afterward," he said, noting that "people of good will" can disagree on reform strategies.

Mahony invited the public to attend an immigration-rights rally scheduled for 4 p.m. May 1 at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. The rally is being organized by the "We Are America" coalition of 125 local and national organizations, which is neutral on the boycott.

Armando Navarro, a boycott supporter and ethnic studies department chair at UC Riverside, said he respected but disagreed with Mahony's stance.

Now that immigrants have displayed their political power through massive marches, he said, the next step is to demonstrate their economic clout.

The cardinal's opposition "will make things a little more difficult, but it won't stop the wind in our sails," Navarro said. "No one person controls the destiny of the movement."

Los Angeles Times Articles