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k1015 BC-MO-HispanicConferenc 02-07 0218

Published on -2/7/2008, 11:52 PM

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La Raza moves national convention from Kansas City to Chicago

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group on Thursday announced plans to hold its 2009 national convention in Chicago.

The National Council of La Raza voted Oct. 20 to pull the conference from Kansas City because a woman on the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Board was also a member the anti-illegal immigrant Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. The member, Frances Semler, resigned from the parks board last month.

La Raza believes the Minuteman organization is hostile to Hispanics. The group is known for its citizen patrols on the Mexican border and for picketing construction sites where it thinks illegal immigrants are working.

Minuteman officials say the group abides by the law and opposes illegal immigration.

La Raza said in a written statement that it selected Chicago for the conference, which is scheduled for July 25-28, "to ensure that the event remained in the Midwest." Chicago has hosted the annual conference three times.

The 2009 convention, expected to draw about 20,000 participants, was expected to bring to Kansas City an estimated $5 million to $7 million in revenue.

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