DC rally organizers clarify position on ‘Truck Out’

| 4/18/2007

The group that’s organizing a Washington, DC, rally next week for immigration reform is distancing itself from another group that seeks to make a so-called “rolling blockade” by truckers a part of the larger event.

The Save America Fund is calling on truckers who oppose cross-border trucking with Mexico to demonstrate in Washington, DC, and in state capitals by encircling capitol buildings and blocking traffic. Save America Fund’s organizers were planning on “piggy-backing” their demonstration to a rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR.

But on FAIR’s Web page, organizers indicate they want no part of the “Truck Out.” In a statement, FAIR says it understands the concerns of truckers, but that it won’t be involved in the planning of any events that could “slow or snarl traffic.”

Driving large trucks to Capitol Hill, near the White House isn’t a piece of cake, say police officers, and hasn’t been for several years. Similar restrictions are likely in most state capital cities as well.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the U.S. Capitol Police in Washington told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio that unauthorized vehicles don’t get anywhere near the Capitol, especially since Sept. 11.

“Specifically, 18-wheelers and very large vehicles are prohibited on Capitol grounds,” Schneider said. “And it’s clearly marked to a point that you can see it well before you reach the grounds.

“In addition to that, we have restrictions in Washington, DC, the entire city. So, there are quite a few places that are mapped out clearly for 18-wheelers, and clearly Capitol Hill is not one of them.”

Schneider said only authorized vehicles can access Capitol grounds when they have official business.

FAIR’s immigration rally is scheduled to start on Sunday, April 22, and continue through Wednesday, April 25.

Although FAIR has made it clear it doesn't endorse any kind of attempt to blockade traffic, a spokesperson said the group is strongly in support of the trucking industry and that truckers are welcome at the event.

– By Reed Black, staff writer

Land Line staff contributed to this article.