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Immigration SB1070

McCain's graduation speech draws protest

DELAWARE, Ohio – About 75 people protested Arizona's new immigration law in an Ohio town where Sen. John McCain gave the commencement address at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Paula Solis Flores, a Columbus, Ohio, resident originally from Veracruz, Mexico, wondered why Arizona's McCain, who supported immigration reform in the past, has seemingly changed his stance.

"If he was supporting us before, why is he silent now when we need a leader? We need immigration reform to come out of the shadows. We come here to work, not to cause any problems for anyone," she told the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

Protesters in downtown Delaware worried Arizona's law could be put on the books in Ohio, reports the Dispatch.

"I'm terrified that if this law comes to Ohio, my daughter could get asked for her papers," said Erika Shell Castro, a Columbus resident whose husband is from Guatemala. "She was born here. But she'd get pulled into a deportation center just like everyone else."

McCain assured the crowd that being afraid to fail is natural, don't let the fear stop you, reports the Delaware Gazette.

“We are all afraid of something. But we should not let the sensation of fear convince us we are too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.”

He directed the 400 graduating seniors to fight against civil rights violations, wherever they occur, reports Ohio Wesleyan University.

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“I have faith that you understand that assaults on the dignity of others are assaults on the dignity of all humanity. You will not look upon tyranny and injustice in faraway places as the inevitable tragedy of mankind’s fallen nature. You will see them as a call to action – a summons to devote your time and talents to a just cause that is greater than yourself, the cause of human rights and dignity.

"Make this your legacy, and 20 years from now, maybe longer, you will be able to know that you made history, and made our country and world better. Not perfect, but better.”

McCain, who supports the new law, which directs police to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, did not mention immigration in his speech.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Ohio Wesleyan University

U.S. Senator John McCain encourages Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2010 to make a difference in the world when he delivered the keynote address at the university’s 166th Commencement ceremony on Sunday.

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