Pro­test­ers call out ICE, sher­iff out­side Tea Party event

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Local - BY ASH­LEIGH PANOO [email protected]­nobee.com Ash­leigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @Ash­leighPan

A dozen pro­test­ers chanted out­side a Tea Party Cal­i­for­nia Cau­cus event on Satur­day morn­ing where Fresno County Sher­iff Margaret Mims was be­ing hon­ored with the “Hero of Lib­erty” award.

The pro­test­ers faced off with sev­eral event at­ten­dees in the park­ing lot, in­clud­ing Su­san Crosby, who wore a red “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat and held a “We love ICE” sign.

Crosby said she grew up in Fresno and sup­ports Mims work­ing with Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment.

“To say that ICE is go­ing af­ter grand­moth­ers sit­ting in their liv­ing rooms? No, they’re not,” she said. “We’re the real re­sis­tance. We’re against crim­i­nals, il­le­gal aliens that think they can be in sanc­tu­ary in this state.”

Jennifer Ro­jas, an or­ga­nizer with the Ser­vices, Im­mi­gra­tion Rights and Ed­u­ca­tion Net­work, said her group of pro­test­ers hoped to at­tract at­ten­tion to how Mims col­lab­o­rates with ICE in the court­house and jail to de­port un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

“It’s very ob­vi­ous she’s not a hero in our com­mu­nity,” Ro­jas said.

The “Real Re­sis­tance Con­fer­ence 2” be­gan at 9 a.m. at the Wyn­d­ham Gar­den Fresno Air­port Ho­tel. Or­ga­niz­ers said Mims was in at­ten­dance, but she did not ad­dress the pro­test­ers.

The con­fer­ence was ti­tled “Back to What Works,” and aimed to teach con­ser­va­tives “what is at stake, how me­dia works, set­ting goals and strate­gies, re­cruit­ing vol­un­teers, and de­fend­ing con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples,” ac­cord­ing to the agenda posted on its web­site.

Speak­ers in­cluded Assem­bly­man Jim Pat­ter­son, R-Fresno, and for­mer Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Party chair­man Tom Del Bec­caro.

Ben Bergquam, who also con­fronted the pro­test­ers, said Mims is a friend and de­serv­ing of the award. “I sup­port le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, not il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” he said. “It’s time we sep­a­rate the two.”

Pro­tester Ben McCloskey said the U.S. helped cre­ate a refugee cri­sis in Cen­tral Amer­ica and South Amer­ica. “And yet we won­der why peo­ple come here. They come here seek­ing asy­lum. They do hard work ev­ery day,” he said, re­fer­ring to un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. “And we should be ap­pre­cia­tive.”

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]­nobee.com

Bob McCloskey, left, ar­gues Satur­day with coun­ter­protester Ben Bergquam as the ICE Out of Fresno coali­tion protests out­side the Wyn­d­ham Gar­den Fresno Air­port Ho­tel where Sher­iff Margaret Mims was be­ing hon­ored by the Tea Party Cal­i­for­nia Cau­cus.

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