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Protest held as AZ bill poised to become law

July 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The battle over Arizona's controversial immigration law is about to reach the boiling point as the law is set to take effect on Thursday. As the possible enforcement date nears, opponents have stepped up protests.Many motorists honked in support of immigration rights activists perched high above the 101 Freeway Monday morning.

The Grand Avenue overpass in downtown Los Angeles is one of three spots where protesters gathered to hold up banners against the Arizona immigration law.

Protesters sought to grab the attention of commuters in rush hour traffic. They began their demonstration at 7 a.m. and ended the protest at around 9 a.m. Protesters also demonstrated again at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

While it is illegal to hang banners from an overpass, it is legal to hold banners as long as state property is not damaged.

The banner protests included the Broadway and Spring street overpasses in addition to the Grand Avenue overpass.

Protesters call Senate Bill 1070 racist and unconstitutional.

"The biggest thing is how it legalizes racial profiling and actually mandates for police to pull people over or stop people on the street if they have even a reasonable suspicion that they're immigrants," said protester Garrick Ruiz. "There is no way to actually do that except by the color of someone's skin."

An activist group called We Are All Arizona organized the event, and they plan to repeat the banner demonstrations every day this week leading up to the enforcement date of the controversial bill if it goes into effect.

The law is being challenged in the courts, but if it's allowed to stand as is, it would require police officers to check a person's immigration status if the officers suspect the person is in the country illegally.

Those who support the law say an exodus of undocumented workers will open up low-paying jobs and save tax payers' money on schools and social services. Those who oppose it say it's unconstitutional.

Several protests have taken place across the country since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill in April. However, those who support SB1070 said it is constitutional and it's there to protect American citizens.

The U.S. Department of Justice's recent preliminary injunction against the state of Arizona has SB1070 supporters questioning the Obama administration's motives.

"When you talk about the federal government's involvement and you talk about the administration's involvement, you're talking about placating to a base," said Tony Katz, a radio host. "That is shameful. It should be about the law."

More protests are expected throughout the week across the country as a federal judge determines the constitutionality of the bill.


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