The demonstration, one of the largest since SB 1070 was signed into law in April, draws a diverse crowd. Backers of the law are to hold their own rally at a suburban stadium in the evening.Reporting from Phoenix —
Under a broiling desert sun, thousands of protesters on Saturday morning slowly marched five miles to the state capitol here to rally against Arizona’s controversial new immigration law.
There was no official crowd estimate, but the march is one of the largest demonstrations since Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23. The law makes it a state crime to lack immigration papers and requires police to determine the status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.
The law’s backers, who are to hold their own rally at a suburban stadium Saturday evening, say that the measure is necessary to protect against violence seeping across the border from Mexico. Critics including President Obama, whose Justice Department is expected to challenge the law in court, contend the measure invites racial profiling.
Several groups have sued to stop the law from going into effect, but if they do not prevail in court it will be implemented on July 29. It is widely popular in Arizona and has attracted majority support in several recent national polls.
Demonstrators for Saturday’s protest against SB 1070 came from as far as Rhode Island and Louisiana. They streamed down the broad boulevards in a several-blocks long procession of white shirts, American flags and umbrellas to protect against temperatures expected to reach the high 90s. Dennis DuVall, 68, drove down from the Arizona city of Prescott, 100 miles north. Read More…