By BRIAN FEAGANS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/31/07
The placards reading "Secure Our Borders" and "Stop the Guest Worker Amnesty" may have been pointed at motorists Thursday.
But the mid-day protest outside the Galleria Office Park in Cobb County was really designed to grab attention 13 floors above, in the office suite of Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
"That turncoat sold us down the Rio Grande," East Cobb resident Maria Litland said, waving an American flag in the direction of the curved glass office building while standing with about 60 other protesters.
Organized by anti-illegal immigration activist D.A. King, the protest was designed to turn up the heat on Chambliss and fellow Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. They are among the Senate leaders backing a controversial immigration reform compromise with President Bush.
The bipartisan measure has absorbed a barrage of criticism from both the left and the right since being unveiled earlier this month. Conservatives say it's too soft on border security and the estimated 12 illegal immigrants currently in the country. Liberals say it would break up immigrant families and give illegal immigrants incentive to remain in the shadows.
Chambliss and Isakson have acknowledged the plan isn't perfect but say it's far better than the status quo. They insist the measure would require that the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border be secured before the other reforms, such as the creation of a temporary worker program, could be put in place.
Protester Melanie Williams of Duluth said no matter how it's dressed up, the Senate compromise would send a clear message to other people considering illegal entry into the United States. "People will sneak in and think 'Oh, I'll just wait for the next amnesty,'" Williams said.
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