- Title: USA: Protesters for and against Arizona's new immigration law rally in New York
- Date: 30th July 2010
- Summary: PROTEST SIGNS SIGN READING "NO AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS"
- Embargoed: 14th August 2010 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVA89P48VBJ9J6RCC8IT5J27WSKD
- Story Text: On the steps of the federal courthouse in New York, protesters condemn Arizona's new controversial immigration law, while another group of demonstrators defend it.
Protesters both for and against Arizona's new immigration law demonstrated in Lower Manhattan on Thursday (July 29) after the Mexico-border state adopted a new immigration law, even though its most intrusive provisions had already been blocked by a U.S. court.
Late Wednesday (July 28), a U.S. District Court judge granted an injunction against the most controversial elements.
The blocked provisions included one that required a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed they were not in the country legally.
The remaining measures in the law, known as SB 1070, which went into effect on Thursday (July 29), included offenses making it illegal for drivers to pick up day laborers from the street and to transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.
The law is popular with a majority of Americans and 65 percent of Arizona voters, although opponents charge it is unconstitutional and would lead to discrimination against Latinos, and Latino-looking Americans.
In New York, a few hundred people rallied against the new law, holding signs, beating drums, and denouncing Arizona's new law as racist.
Among them, New York State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell.
"This nation was built on immigrant labor. Listen, we're all immigrants, unless you can trace your roots all the way to the Native Americans, the Indians, so-called. The fact is until the 1920's, we had no immigration laws, in the sense that everybody could come to the United States. In the '20's that changed, but throughout the 20th century, we had many immigrants from European countries, for the most part, come, and now unfortunately as the faces of the immigrants have changed, apparently, some people want to change the rules. The immigrants now are Africans, they're Mexicans, they're Dominicans, they're South Americans, and so we need to continue to keep the door of opportunity open. We can not allow people who walked through that door of opportunity to slam the door shut in the face of new people that are trying their very best to improve their families lives," said Powell.
Protester Marlene Aquino added, "It's just a path to racism. It's not helping anyone. There's a lot of immigrants here who are contributing to this country and for them to do that, it's not right. They are just putting a stop to them."
Near the demonstration, a smaller group of protesters voiced support for Arizona's new immigration law.
Holding signs and shouting, the Arizona law supporters insisted the law is not racist.
"Illegal is not a race," said Joanna Marzullo, President of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement.
"I, myself, am an American of Hispanic descent, and my family believes it is an affront to everyone that goes through the process of becoming an immigrant, which they are not, that we have all these illegal alien trespassers here. Illegal aliens are not immigrants, though they are trying co-opt the immigrants rights movement and they are trying to co-opt the civil rights movement, but they are neither. Illegal aliens either trespassed across our borders illegally or overstayed their visas illegally" Marzullo added. Marzullo said her family is from Nicaragua.
Protester, Pauline Pujol added, "The federal government is not enforcing federal law in Arizona. The state of Arizona is overwhelmed with illegal immigrants. They hurt the school system, the workforce, they hurt the health care in this country. It is a real, big problem. Arizona is right near the border with Mexico, and they come in and come in and nothing is being done. The federal government has never done anything about it."
Tensions over the law inflamed a national debate over immigration, which has festered for decades and promises to play into U.S. mid-term elections in November, when President Barack Obama's Democratic party will fight to retain control of Congress.
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