Democracy Now: Protests, Lawsuits Challenge Arizona Immigration Law

Opposition to Arizona’s new immigration law is growing with ongoing protests and the first federal lawsuits seeking its reversal. The law forces police officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. Opponents call it the harshest anti-immigrant measure in the country and a license for racial profiling. On Thursday, hundreds of people rallied against the law at a protest outside the state Capitol in Phoenix. The demonstrators included the veteran labor activist Dolores Huerta and the pop musician Shakira. Huerta said the law is galvanizing the immigrant rights movement.

Dolores Huerta:“I think this is an opportunity for all of us here to get in engaged and change the policy of the state of Arizona. We can not let the state continue to be the black sheep of all the states of the United States of America, which continues to pass laws that are racist.”

Another protest was held in Chicago, where dozens of people rallied outside a Major League Baseball game featuring the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. A small plane displaying a banner criticizing the immigration law circled above the stadium. Back in Arizona, fifteen-year Tuscon police veteran Martin Escobar filed suit against the law, saying it would impede investigations and violate constitutional rights. Escobar’s suit was followed by a separate challenge from the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders. The group is seeking an injunction preventing the law’s enforcement. Thomas Saenz of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said his group will also file suit.

Thomas Saenz: “A lawsuit will be filed in federal court in a time to ensure that the law will never be able to be implemented, based on what the implementation date ends up being, 90 days from when the legislature session closes. We will go to court, file a complaint seeking to enjoin the law from ever being implemented.”

The sheriff for Arizona’s Pima County meanwhile has announced he’ll refuse to enforce the new law. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik called the law “disgusting”, “racist”, and “stupid.”

~ by wheresthemic on April 30, 2010.

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