The issue of illegal immigration once again caught the national spotlight, this time in Santa Maria. The murder of 64-year-old Santa Maria resident and Air Force veteran, Marilyn Pharis, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history, spawned protests on the corner of Cook and Miller streets in Santa Maria on Thursday, Aug. 13. On one side of the street, individuals and groups, such as the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR), called for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants. However, groups such as the Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), provided a counter protest, accusing the other side of using a tragic death to further an agenda. Supporters of both sides of the debate showed up in numbers.
Two suspects have been charged with torture and first-degree murder in the death of Pharis: 29-year-old Victor Aureilano Martinez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, and 20-year-old Jose Villagomez.
All photos by David Minsky.
Keywords:Marilyn Pharis, Santa Maria murder, undocumented immigrant