Local activists protest Ariz. immigration law

July 30, 2010 4:38:58 AM PDT
The immigration debate took center stage in Chicago and around the country as a watered-down version of Arizona's controversial new immigration law went into effect.

A judge put some key parts of that new law on hold on Wednesday. The state of Arizona filed an appeal of that decision in federal court Thursday.

The immigration debate is hitting home in Chicago. Activists rallied throughout the day Thursday to stand up against the law. Others are championing it.

Several hundred demonstrators marched to the Cook County Jail protesting the Arizona law and urging Illinois lawmakers to take the opposite position.

"Arizona has demonstrated how anti-immigrant you can be. We want the state of Illinois to demonstrate how pro-immigrant you can be," said Jorge Mujica, demonstrator.

"We're the power right now. The youth really have a voice and we're letting it be heard," said Brittani Hernandez, demonstrator.

In Los Angeles protestors blocked a major intersection by forming a human chain. In Arizona hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets of Phoenix. Some were arrested. Polls in the state show most people back their governor who favors the immigration law and has already filed an appeal to restore the parts a judge has blocked. She wants the feds to help.

"The people of America, I truly believe, come election time are going to react in an interesting manner in regards to the federal government not behaving and not upholding their responsibility that is bestowed upon them as our federal government. They have let us all down," said Gov. Jan Brewer, (R) Arizona.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his officers are enforcing the law and are basically unaffected by the judge's ruling.

"Stopping those people with probable cause, turning them over to ICE. She didn't address those. That's what I've been doing," said Joe Arpaio, Maricopa Co. Sheriff.

Demonstrators in Chicago also marched at City Hall. And a group of children who just returned from taking their immigration message to Washington DC were invited into council chambers.

"I'm very proud of you. You went to Washington, you made a big impact in this law," said Ald. Danny Solis, (D) 25th Ward.

Opponents however disagree with the children's involvement.

"They're just trying to garner sympathy as a way to get up and around and over the law," said Rick Jones, Chicago Minuteman Project.

The Chicago protestors also unveiled a petition asking the cubs to publicly oppose next year's All Star Game in Arizona. Lawmakers in an estimated 18 other states are considering laws similar to Arizona's. So they are watching closely to see how this plays out.


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