"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Monday, May 22, 2006

Encinitas group targets day-labor site

Staff Writer ENCINITAS ----

The first gathering of the newly formed Encinitas Citizens Brigade targeted a day-labor site Saturday morning on Encinitas Boulevard.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. about 20 brigade members converged just west of Interstate 5 at the entrance of a parking lot frequented by people looking for work. At the time, there were about 30 day laborers and a handful of immigration-rights protesters at the site.

Raw emotions led to several arguments but no fights or citations, sheriff's deputies said.

"No one got out of line," sheriff's Sgt. Chris Serritella said Saturday afternoon. "Everything was very peaceful."

Both sides displayed colorful signs and American flags for passing motorists, many of whom honked or voiced support for one side or the other. Messages varied from "Amnesty, si! racist border bullies, no!" and "Many of us are lawful permanent residents; some are even U.S. citizens" to "Only traitors hire illegals" and "Hiring a day laborer? Say cheese.

"Few workers were hired Saturday, but many people stayed at the site until about 11 a.m, holding up signs supporting immigration rights.

San Diego resident Anthony Porrello said he was there to protest what he considered more than simply a problem with immigration laws.

"Our country is being invaded," he said, while standing across the street from the predominantly Latino men looking for work and the protesters there to support them. "This is not an immigration problem, this is an invasion problem."

Porrello said he has nothing against people who come to America from other countries, he just wants them to do it legally.

"Rewarding illegal immigrants by giving them any form of amnesty is a slap in the face to any legal immigrants," he said.

Much of the anger felt by some of those involved with groups like the Citizens Brigade and the Minutemen is misdirected, said Lawrence Palomo, an Encinitas resident who came out to support the day laborers.

"Why are Americans upset at these people?" he asked. "They're upset because the government doesn't do their job ... The government should have secured the border since 9/11."
(Gotta insert here: The government should have secured the border since 9/11... DUH!)

Luis Fernando, a Mexican citizen at the site looking for work, said he thinks the government should allow the workers to come into the country on work visas.

"We're all here for you, to work in your houses," he said in Spanish. "We're not here to do anything bad. We just came here to work."
(Understandable, his government is corrupt)

Fernando Suarez del Solar, an outspoken peace activist, said he attended the protest to support the working class. "These people here are not criminals," he said. "We need to take a look at who's illegal in this country .... The Pilgrims who came on the Mayflower immigrated illegally."
("These people here are not criminals," OK, They're Entering our Country without permission {Illegally}, working for 'cash under the table' {illegally}, Driving without Driver's licenses {Illeagally} and driving with no auto insurance {Illegally}. Hmmm, sounds like criminal activity to me).

Saul Lisauskas, a member of the Minutemen and vice president of the North Coast Republican Club, formed the brigade after being involved with similar activities at day-labor sites in Vista and Fallbrook. The Encinitas resident said he decided to form a group for that city Monday after hearing President Bush's speech about illegal immigration, which he called "just more rhetoric."

"I'm fed up," he said while waving a sign at passing motorists. "We're trying to do something to wake up the people, because most people are asleep at the wheel."

So far, the brigade has about 35 members, he said, adding that he expects that number to grow quickly.

Before members of the group headed to the site, they met at a nearby restaurant to discuss procedures and rules, which included ignoring counterprotesters and having no contact with the men waiting for work.

At the early morning meeting, Lisauskas explained why he felt the need to form the group.

"Our whole reason for being here is basically this," he said while holding up pictures of protesters in Los Angeles carrying signs declaring California still part of Mexico and a flagpole with a Mexican flag waving above an upside-down U.S. flag. "These are basically a declaration of war.

"They're going to come and take over our country ---- over my dead body," he added.

Contact staff writer Stacy Brandt at (760) 631-6622 or To comment, go to