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Groups prepare for May Day immigration march

April 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Groups are mobilizing across the country for Saturday's May Day rallies, which have morphed into protests of Arizona's new illegal immigration law.Saturday's May Day protest march will end on Broadway. A lot of people want to see an end to the Arizona immigration law that was signed a week ago. It's also lit a fire under those people who want to see some changes with immigration law reform.

At the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), signs and banners have been printed. They'll be distributed to the estimated 100,000 May Day marchers expected Saturday.

A motivating factor is Arizona's new law, which would require police to check a person's papers if there's a question about immigration status.

"It has really helped awaken a lot of the community in terms of the dangers in not moving forward with solutions," said CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas. "Because if we don't move forward with immigration reform, what happens is we get these kinds of laws."

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel has identified at least 14 Arizona companies and more than $7 million in city money that could be part of a boycott.

Mexico has put out a travel alert to its citizens. Friday, the consuls general for nine countries met to express concerns over Arizona's law.

President Obama has seemed lukewarm to any changes in immigration law this year but Attorney General Eric Holder may be one of many to challenge Arizona's new law.

"People want to boycott Arizona. They all seem to be experts. They never even read the law," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Los Angeles Special Order 40 prohibits police from asking about immigration status. L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was a gang prosecutor and he strongly endorses the law.

"If you invited me into your house and I sat down on your couch and I saw that there was an ashtray on the coffee table and I picked it up and threw it through the picture window, how long would you let me stay, after I did that? And that's basically Special Order 40. We don't care where you come from. In fact, we invite the diversity," said Trutanich.

Colombian pop star Shakira condemns Arizona's law. "It is a violation of human and civil rights," she said at a news conference.

Civil rights leaders are also calling for an end to conventions in Arizona. A few of them have been canceled. The backlash is growing. Even the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team are reporting protests when they're at their games and now a hotel association reports about $7 million has been lost, 15,000 hotel rooms have been canceled, and 19 meetings have gone away.


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