Immigration Law Supporters Rally at Ariz. Capitol

Saturday, 05 Jun 2010 08:01 PM

 

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Hundreds of people supporting Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigration gathered near the state Capitol Saturday afternoon as temperatures reached 105 degrees.

The Pennsylvania-based group Voice of the People USA organized the demonstration, which it touted as a grassroots effort. Attendees traveled from every region of the U.S., Voice of the People president Daniel Smeriglio said.

Hundreds of motorcycle riders kicked off the downtown Phoenix rally off by riding in a procession around the Capitol. Supporters waved American flags and some carried signs that read "What part of illegal don't they understand?"

The rally follows dueling events last weekend that drew thousands of opponents and supporters of the law to the area.

But this weekend's demonstration could be muted by hot weather. The National Weather Service has predicted that temperatures will reach 107 degrees on Saturday.

Smeriglio said his group planned to provide lots of water, and participants have been urged to bring umbrellas and wear sunscreen.

Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and GOP state Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa were scheduled to speak later Saturday. Pearce is the author of the law that goes into effect July 29 unless blocked by a court, as requested under pending legal challenges.

The law requires that police conducting traffic stops or questioning people about possible legal violations ask them about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they're in the country illegally. Reasonable suspicion is not defined.

The law also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally or to impede traffic while hiring day laborers, regardless of the worker's immigration status. It would become a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit work.

Critics have said the law will invite racial profiling, while supporters have said it will help fight illegal immigration.

Gov. Jan Brewer has ordered a state police training board to prepare training standards to prevent racial profiling in enforcing the law.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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