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Parts of AZ immigration law go into effect

July 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A judge blocked key sections of Arizona controversial immigration law on Wednesday morning. The ruling came as activists from Southern California are heading to Arizona to protest.The blocked parts of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 include sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. Other blocked parts of the bill required immigrants to carry their papers at all times.

The block, which is a temporary injunction, also made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places. In addition, the judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

Opponents are considering this partial injunction a huge victory.

Local activists left from Virgil Avenue in the Westlake District at 8 a.m. The caravan is headed to Phoenix, and a larger caravan will follow suit on Thursday, taking off from Dodger Stadium.

They're making their way to Arizona to protest what they're calling racist legislation.

"People who come here deserve rights, equality. They don't deserve to be harassed," said David Feldman of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) coalition .

About 20 protestors with the ANSWER coalition left L.A. on Thursday and will pick up additional members along the way.

Immigration rights groups from all over the country are expected to gather on Thursday at the Phoenix Federal Building to rally against the law they say promotes racial profiling.

Those who support the law are also planning to show up to rally at the federal building. Supporters say that SB 1070 is not about race but rather about protecting American citizens and simply enforces existing federal law.

SB 1070 supporter Scott Hounsell said he is convinced this injunction will be overturned in an appeal.

"I think the legal precedence is on the proponents' side," he said. "If you look at other laws that are similar for different subject matters, it shows states passing laws that mirror federal laws justifying for local enforcement to enforce that federal law."

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that he is ready to enforce the law and is ready for the inevitable protesting.

"They want to block my jail? We got plenty of room for them too. We're not going to tolerate any civil disobedience just so they can prove a point to the media," Arpaio said. Maricopa County has set up tents outside its jail to hold the expected surge of illegal immigrants.

Immigrant rights activists who are leaving Los Angeles for Phoenix this week say they are intent on getting their message across.

"The passage of the Arizona law shows frustration with Congress and Congress' refusal and inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform," said Maria Elena Durazo of the L.A. County Labor Federation.

"It is a crime to be here illegally, and everybody should enforce that crime in the interior of the United States including Arizona," said Arpaio. "I hope that the cops, when they come across people, they arrest them if they're here illegally."

"Right-wing politicians like Jan Brewer and her racist lap dog Arpaio are talking about doing more sweeps, but we believe that equality should be the rule of law - not racism, not racial profiling," said Ian Thompson of the ANSWER coalition.

The U.S. Justice Department is trying to block this law, arguing that it steps on federal toes.

In an exclusive Eyewitness News Poll, viewers were asked, "Do you agree or disagree with Arizona's new immigration law?" Of the responses, 51 percent said they agree, 40 percent said they disagree and 8 percent said they are undecided.

Even with the temporary injunction in place, activists said they still plan to protest at the federal building to rally against the mere idea of this type of legislation.

Calif. Congresswoman Judy Chu issued the following statement regarding the injunction against Senate Bill 1070.

"I strongly supported the Justice Department's decision to challenge Arizona's misguided immigration law and wholeheartedly back today's injunction. Only one entity has authority over our nation's immigration laws ? the federal government. And with this authority comes the responsibility to use it. It's long past time Congress fixed America's broken system. This ruling shows we need comprehensive immigration reform and we need it now."


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