Opponents, supporters of Arizona immigration law gather to protest [Updated]

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

A man is escorted away from a scene by police in downtown Phoenix during demonstrations over Arizona's controversial immigration law on Thursday, July 29, 2010. About two dozen SB1070 opponents refused to disperse after Phoenix police declared an unlawful assembly. Police began arresting protesters at 11:50 a.m. The arrests were peaceful.

The showdown over Arizona's immigration law played out in court and on Phoenix's and Los Angeles' sun-splashed streets on Thursday, as Arizona sought to reinstate key parts of the measure and angry protesters chanted that they refused to "live in fear." Dozens were arrested in both locations.

Latest | Permalink Sheriff Arpaio target of protesters
Associated Press A federal judge's decision a day earlier to block the strict law's most controversial elements didn't dampen the raging immigration debate. The judge has been threatened. Protesters rallied in cities from Los Angeles to New York. The sheriff of the state's most populous county vowed to continue targeting illegal immigrants. Lawmakers or candidates in as many as 18 states say they still want to push similar measures. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, life continued as before, with officials sending back people who were captured while attempting to cross. In Phoenix, hundreds of the law's opponents massed at a downtown jail, beating on the metal door and forcing sheriff's deputies to call for backup. Officers arrested at least 32 people, and dozens more were detained elsewhere throughout the day. Activists focused their rage at Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent known for his immigration sweeps. Read more Updated at 2:35 p.m. | Permalink Protesters arrested in front of Maricopa County Courthouse
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez Earlier today, several hundred protesters showed up in front of the Maricopa County Courthouse. Dozens of police officers in full riot gear were also there, arresting people who have refused to vacate the street. Sharon Lungo is one of the organizers of the action. "What's been happening is a show of resistance on the part of people in this community in Phoenix, along with people who have traveled far and wide from other states to show their solidarity with people," she says. Lungo says most of the protests have been civil. "Most of the people that have taken to the streets today are operating in a non-violent way, are taking to the streets in a dignified way, are here to send a message to the world that we are peaceful," she says. "We do not use violence like Joe Arpaio uses violence, we don't need to use that violence the way that the state uses that violence against us." Lungo says while she's seen protesters from Los Angeles, she thinks many have stayed in California to protest. "I've definitely encountered many people from Los Angeles, from all throughout California," she says. "My understanding is that in Los Angeles right now, there are solidarity actions happening. People are throwing banners over freeways, there's large demonstrations happening in Los Angeles as well as other cities throughout the United States."

(Video of Arizona police declaring an unlawful assembly) Updated at 1:23 p.m. | Permalink California State Senator Cedillo defends Arizona boycott California State Senator Gil Cedillo came on KPCC's "Patt Morrison" to talk about the state boycott against Arizona over Arizona's new immigration law, SB 1070. Cedillo defended the Arizona boycott, saying that, historically, "boycotts have been effective for us to make social progress." He talked about immigration raids that he said had a "devastating impact" on Southern California businesses, including a recent raid on American Apparel. However, unlike in Arizona, those raids were conducted by the federal government. Cedillo said that labor made mistakes in the past, but is on the right side today. "Today the labor movement plays a major role in pushing forward comprehensive immigration reform." One caller criticized the boycott, saying that the state government should be focusing on putting together a budget rather than spending time on the boycott. "The problems related to immigration are equally important," said Cedillo, "and they deserve our concern." He said that immigrants are "the foundation of many important industries" in California. Cedillo said that there needs to be one unified immigration policy, not 50 separate policies decided upon by the states. "We have a tremendous need to stabilize our economy and to protect our borders," said Cedillo. Cedillo argued that there needs to be immigration reform to allow for a more stable workforce that has legal status. Updated at 1:02 p.m. | Permalink Protesters, police clash at Arizona jail A protester confronts Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear at the entrance to the county’s central booking facility downtown. More at the Multi-American blog Updated at 12:12 p.m. | Permalink Civil disobedience at Sheriff Arpaio’s booking facility Unitarian minister Susan Frederick-Gray is among those who have blocked the entrance to the central booking facility of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. More at the Multi-American blog Updated at 12:08 p.m. | Permalink Arizona representative says the state needs changes, but not this one Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Central Phoenix, joined AirTalk today to talk about SB 1070, which she opposes. She says she understands the motivation behind it, and that the federal government has not done enough to address illegal immigration. "This is becoming a crisis in this country, and nowhere is that crisis more deeply felt than her in Arizona," she says. “I think that’s a real sign of the fact that we’re waiting for the federal government to step up and take action. “ But the law, she says is unconstitutional, and not the right way of solving the problem. Sinema says the "sanctuary policy" going into effect today is not as significant, because no Arizona cities have sanctuary policies. Other of the law's most controversial portions were blocked by a judge.. But some of the provisions taking effect today will have an impact, she says, including a day laborer provision making it illegal to solicit labor on street sides. "That will be significant," she says. "We have a significant day laborer population in both large and small cities." Another provision would criminalize knowingly harboring or driving around illegal immigrants. Sinema says she doesn't think that was intended to target "coyotes" who smuggle people across the border. “[The bill's author] intends it to apply to any citizen who puts another person in their car who’s undocumented," she says, adding that she worries it could affect institutions like churches or domestic violence centers. Although Sinema disagrees with the law, she dismisses suggestions that it was racist. “I repudiate those individuals who would call this a race issue. It’s about our community," she says. "Most Arizonans are just like me, people who just want to see a safe and happy neighborhood. And illegal immigration has created a dangerous element in our society.” She also expresses her frustration with the boycotts of Arizona by Los Angeles city, county, and various other agencies. "I’m telling you, I hate that boycott. I’m against SB 1070 but also against the boycott," she says. "The boycott only helps those who are pushing forward the law. It allows people to use this as almost sort of a martyr issue….and it just drains money out of our state economy, which means less funding for education, public safety and health care.” Updated at 11:42 a.m. | Permalink L.A. teacher joins labor protesters en route to Arizona Mary Rose O'Leary, a sixth grade teacher at Dahlia Heights Elementary School, is admiring the scenery in Arizona, where she's about an hour from Phoenix. She's one of about four teachers sharing a bus with labor leaders from the AFL-CIO. The union has sent 11 buses to the state. We’re hoping that our voice will be heard,” she said. "In this country, we really need to use all the talents of the peope who are here, and this is not the right approach.” Updated at 11:31 a.m. | Permalink Tension and a heavy police presence as protesters shout 'Arrest Arpaio' Phoenix police have blocked the street in front of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office, where an anti-SB 1070 protester with a bullhorn is shouting. More at the Multi-American blog Updated at 11:26 a.m. | Permalink Pima County Sheriff Dupnik opposes Arizona immigration law Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik opposes the Arizona immigration law. "We would have to charge these people with a state violation," said Dupnik. He said that it would lead to hundreds if not thousands being arrested and throw the Pima County jail into a crisis overnight, as well as leaving local taxpayers with a huge bill. This could lead to the need for tents for people to be detained, as Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he would set up if necessary, due to the jails not having the capacity to hold those arrested on state charges. Arpaio argued that there would be attrition, with illegal immigrants gradually being deported. "We are already arresting illegal aliens," said Dupnik. He said there the only difference would be charging them with a crime and turning them over to the border patrol, or just turning them over to the border patrol. "We've been enforcing the federal law for the last 52 years, and most law enforcement agencies that I know if in the state have been doing so as well." Dupnik said that law enforcement already had the ability to arrest someone for illegal immigration, and was already turning illegal immigrants over to federal law enforcement. Dupnik said that, in May, 286 illegal immigrants were turned over to the federal government just in Pima County, which was an average month. About 3,000 are turned over per year. The numbers are greater in places with larger populations, such as Tucson. Dupnik also said it would be difficult to enforce because SB 1070 said that the person being arrested had to have been in the state for at least 30 days, and that it was difficult to prove how long someone had been there. "Our county attorney said it would be almost impossible to prosecute people under this new law." One clause in the bill said that anyone who doesn't feel that their local law enforcement is enforcing the law could sue local law enforcement, which Dupnik said "made it impossible for police officers." He said they already get sued for illegally profiling, and now they could get sued for not profiling enough. While he opposes the bill, Dupnik said he supported the provisions dealing with sanctuary cities. "I don't think any state should have sanctuary cities." Dupnik said, "Pima County turns over more illegal immigrants to the border patrol than any other county in this state." He said that those who haven't committed serious crimes are turned over to border patrol, while those who have are putting Pima County jails. At any time, 10 percent of Pima County jail residents are illegal immigrants. Dupnik also agreed that illegal immigration is a serious problem. On a scale from 1 to 10, said Dupnik, "it's a 15." Updated at 11:02 a.m. | Permalink Activist with Promise Arizona speaks out against SB 1070 "This is not going to solve any of our issues," said Isaac Medrano of activist organization Promise Arizona. "It's going to make our state worse on top of that. I've seen families take off in their cars and their pickup trucks and just driving out of town." "I had a volunteer give me four voter registration cards and then just say, 'I'm leaving.'" The volunteer told Medrano, "I'm not going to be made a criminal by a piece of paper." "We also have much more work to do, because there are people that take the Latino community and any immigrant community for granted," said Medrano. "Those groups must feel our wrath at the voting booth." When asked about the Latino influence in California politics that grew out of a similar law in the 1990s, Proposition 187, Medrano said, "There is a responsibility of every single Latino in this state to heed this wakeup call. To get registered. If you have been a resident here and can become a citizen – over 150,000 of us can – it's time to do so." Medrano said they can take Arizona and do "a complete 180." When asked about Arizona State Senator Russell Pierce saying that Hispanics support SB 1070, Medrano said Pierce was doing "a little bit of spinning." Medrano said that 81 percent of Latinos are against the law, both in Arizona and in L.A. County. Updated at 10:46 a.m. | Permalink Arizona Republican State Senator Pierce says Wednesday injunction was 'poor decision' Republican State Senator Russell Pierce of the Arizona state legislature railed against illegal immigration. Pierce said that the Wednesday injunction was a "poor, poor decision." Pierce said that the judge made the decision for political reasons. "She became a judicial stamp of approval on lawbreakers." Pierce criticized sanctuary cities, complaining that the federal government chooses to sue Arizona rather than those cities. Pierce criticized the federal response to illegal immigration. "They've got billions of dollars for TARP," said Pierce, "but they don't have money for doing their constitutional duty, protecting the border?" Pierce responded to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who said that illegal immigrants weren't disproportionately responsible for violent crime. "He's publicly educated so I don't expect he'd be good at math," said Pierce. Pierce said the illegal immigrant population commits crime at a rate two to three times greater than the rest of the population. When asked about crime in Phoenix dropping over the last several years, Pierce attributed it to illegal immigrants leaving the state after a 2007 law was passed. "We've had a mass exodus of illegal aliens, and that crime drop is because of that exodus." Pierce said that criminals come across the border illegally including drug smugglers, human smugglers, rapists, and other violent criminals. "I just sentenced a guy to 169 years for multiple, multiple child rapes," said Pierce. "Enough is enough." Pierce listed other violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants, including murder. Pierce said that this was just "collateral damage" for "open border anarchists," as he characterized those on the other side of the issue. "Illegal is a crime, not a race. It's a crime." Pierce is working on more legislation fighting illegal immigration, including one bill regarding what Pierce called "anchor babies," children born to illegal immigrants in the United States who automatically become citizens. Updated at 10:28 a.m. | Permalink Protesters take over street in front of Phoenix Superior Court
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez A couple of hundred opponents of SB 1070 have taken over the street in front of the Phoenix Superior Court. A member of the National Lawyers Guild, who’s an observer, says that the protesters have negotiated with police for police to allow the protesters to take the street for about 30 minutes, after which time they will be told that this is an unlawful assembly. Updated at 10:25 a.m. | Permalink Phoenix Mayor Gordon opposes Arizona immigration law Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon opposes SB 1070. "It affects the whole nation, and it's not just about stuff that's happening in Phoenix but all over. "I know a lot of people haven't read what was in it. It was a reaction to a lot of failure by the federal government, and frustration, and rhetoric that became self-serving for individuals on both sides of this debate." Gordon talked about how he sees the law. "I see it, number one, as a civil rights issue. Number two, it has been unconstitutional. And thirdly, it doesn't do anything with respect to any security or solving immigration, no matter which side you're on." Gordon criticized the law for going after those who haven't broken the law. Critics say that illegal immigrants are disproportionately involved in a variety of criminal activity, but Gordon said this isn't true. "Listen to the FBI. Listen to the Justice Department. Listen to the think tanks, the universities. None of those numbers match up." Gordon pointed out that Phoenix has least crime in over two decades, and said that gang crime is being committed by legal citizens. As an example, Gordon said that last night, a suburban police officer was killed by an African-American citizen. Gordon does think something needs to be done about immigration. "Let's all unite and get Congress to do a comprehensive immigration reform." Gordon called the raids by the sheriff's department "publicity stunts," and he said it scares those not breaking the law into not testifying against those who are breaking the law. "Immigrants built this state." Gordon offered a historical view, pointing out that immigrants of all races, going back to the English and the Irish early on, have contributed to the state's history. Gordon also said that people leaving Arizona is hurting the state. "They're not just undocumented moving away." He said that it's affecting their numbers in the census, which could lead to the state losing representation in Congress, and they're also losing sales tax money. Updated at 10:19 a.m. | Permalink Protesters block street in civil disobedience, face arrest Protesters took over a street as an act of civil disobedience. Police have told them to leave the street or be arrested. Some are heeding the warning, while others are confronting police officers. The crowd is growing, and the situation is getting tense. Initially about 200 people were in the street. About half moved to the side, but approximately 100 are still in the street. Some hold signs saying "Defeat SB 1070 in the street," along with other anti-SB 1070 protest signs. Updated at 10:17 a.m. | Permalink Labor union shuttles head from LA to Phoenix About a dozen shuttles left Dodger Stadium earlier this morning with hundreds of protesters heading to Phoenix. Maria Durazo with the L.A. County Federation of Labor is in one of those shuttles “We have workers from many different industries; like 32 different unions from home care workers, to longshore workers, to UPS workers, you name it," said Durazo. "They’re represented here – the entertainment industry – all together saying, ‘We’re in solidarity with each other.’ "We don’t want any group of worker to be racially profiled of discriminated against. That’s a bad thing for all workers.” Arizona says it’ll ask an appeals court to lift yesterday’s federal court ruling. Updated at 10:02 a.m. | Permalink Arizona police oppose SB 1070 Assistant Chief Villaseñor of the Tucson police opposes the law. Villaseñor says that he doesn't have the resources to take on federal law enforcement responsibilities. He argued that those supporting the law don't understand what would go into enforcing it. Villaseñor said that police already had the power to ask about someone's immigration status, but that this law takes away their discretion in doing so and makes it mandatory. Arizona's statewide police chief organization also opposes SB 1070. Updated at 9:58 a.m. | Permalink Protesters arrested at Phoenix federal courthouse in civil disobedience action
Reporting by Marcos Najera of KPCC sister station KJZZ in Phoenix Several have already been arrested at the federal courthouse in Phoenix. Around 9 a.m., protesters were arrested for trying to enter the courthouse, including a longtime protester who marched with Cesar Chavez who was supposed to be a guest on "AirTalk" this morning. The protesters were easily taken into custody as part of a clear act of civil disobedience. Approximately 300 protesters began marching at 4 a.m., and the numbers have continued to grow. There were about 500 protesters near the courthouse by just after 9:30 a.m. There are protest events scattered throughout the downtown Phoenix area. Some are planning surprise acts of civil disobedience around town, including some at the jail. Some protesters plan on following Sheriff Joe Arpaio's planned immigration sweeps. Arpaio is planning a series of sweeps today, continuing his regular practice of sending deputies out to look for people who might be illegal immigrants. Protesters gathered around a man wearing a costume of sheriff Joe with a giant head, wearing a striped prison outfit. Rather than canceling protests after Wednesday's injunction, protesters gathered Thursday, saying this is the beginning of an ongoing struggle, particularly with the law still being put in action and the injunction being a temporary one that's being appealed. Updated at 9:51 a.m. | Permalink Only Republican Latino in Arizona legislature explains why he supports SB 1070 Steve Montenegro, the only Republican Latino elected to the Arizona state legislature, is a supporter of SB 1070. He represents the 12th district, West Maricopa County, just west of Phoenix. Montenegro said that Wednesday's ruling was "a little sweet and it was a little bitter." He said he was glad that key elements of the law were sustained. "Key areas like the transportation of illegal immigrants, which is aimed at coyotes." Montenegro added, "The other part of it is a little bit striking, and I'm a little bit disappointed. Most of it was based on speculation. "We are going to continue to fight for the citizens of Arizona and the citizens of this country. What we are seeing right now is active political games by this administration and by interest groups that are not looking out for the benefits of this state." He said that those opposed to the law support amnesty. Other Latinos have criticized Montenegro's position. Montenegro argued that those criticizing his stance are "just a portion of the Latino left. What people have to understand is, I believe, I challenge those polls. They don't have the best interest, I believe, in really reporting fairly what is out there." Montenegro added, "Some of the credible polls show 71 percent of Arizonans support the law. ... You don't get to 71 percent if you don't have the majority of Hispanics on board." Montenegro said that those opposed to the law don't represent all Hispanics. "Just like I don't represent all the Hispanic community, neither do they." He said he's gotten support from Spanish-speaking only Americans in favor of this law. "That is the true voice, I believe, of the people." Montenegro continued to talk about the criticism he's received. "I'm taking a lot of heat from the left, but again, I submit to you, it's the left." "This bill in no way is anti-immigrant," said Montenegro. "The word 'immigrant' is something honorable." He added, "The laws in the Constitution describe what an immigrant is: someone who's gone through the process the legal way." Montenegro also added that it's not about one group entering illegally. "Illegal immigration comes from all over this world." Updated at 9:43 a.m. | Permalink 11 buses head from Southern California to Phoenix filled with anti-SB 1070 protesters Maria Elena Durazo is leading a group of 11 buses from Southern California to Phoenix with about 550 protesters. Durazo is the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. "We hope to celebrate the short term victory," said Durazo. "More importantly, we've got to see beyond even SB 1070, where the immigration debate has become racial with that law." Durazo made a comparison between the Arizona law and California's Proposition 187, a citizenship screening system that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional, under Governor Pete Wilson, who supported it. Durazo talked about the atmosphere of the contentious Republican primary, saying that the candidates were trying to outdo each other on their stances against illegal immigration. Critics say that this protest is actually about building up the strength of unions. Durazo responded that unions have always fought for issues that go beyond the benefits to their members. "We're always in the forefront of pushing for what is fair for workers, all workers in this country." She said that they believe in that same support for immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Durazo said that her group isn't planning any civil disobedience. The buses, carrying workers representing many different industries, as well as both native citizens and immigrants, are scheduled to arrive shortly after noon. Updated at 9:23 a.m. | Permalink Phoenix resident Maria Morales, 28, was staffing a voter registration location with the organization Promise Arizona. "We need the votes from a lot of Hispanic people that are not voting, that are not registered to vote, because they don't know what this is about." Morales said that she had family and friends who were planning on leaving Arizona because of the new law. "They were afraid of the cops and what was going to happen if they were here." She added, "We were going to separate the family." Morales's aunts and uncles ultimately didn't leave due to Wednesday's injunction against key provisions of the law. "Some of them were going to leave to Colorado, and some were going to leave for New Mexico." Morales explained, "All of the kids are citizens, but some of my uncles are not. And it was a lot of pressure on them to be here." Morales said she appreciated those from around the country supporting those opposed to the law. "I feel good that they're actually looking out for us and they're helping us out. There are people here from other states supporting us." Updated at 9:15 a.m. | Permalink Kristen Larsen, software engineer, was a member of the less visible supporters of the Arizona immigration law. She was stationed across the street from a couple hundred opponents of SB 1070. "It was something that was voted in by the population of the state," said Larsen. She said that she supported Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a strong advocate of the new law. "He is an elected official, he is not an appointed official," Larsen said, adding that he was voted in by a landslide. "I don't necessarily agree with the federal government getting involved in a state action until they clean up their own rules and laws." When asked about her hopes for what happens going forward, Larsen said, "I hope that people stop trying to equate this to a ethnic cleansing. I hope people stop trying to equate this to a holocaust. "This is the United States. Why are they flying Mexican flags?" Updated at 7:50 a.m. | Permalink College graduate hopes to become legal German Cadenas, 23, spoke at a morning prayer service in Phoenix. He graduated with dual degrees from Arizona State University, but is an illegal immigrant and doesn't have access to school loans. Read more on KPCC's Multi-American blog. Updated at 7:44 a.m. | Permalink Latest count from LA County Federation of Labor on people going to Arizona The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor sent 11 buses full of protesters from Southern California to Phoenix. They say a total of 575 protesters are in that group. Updated at 6:43 a.m. | Permalink SB1070 protesters march in procession to Trinity Church Download
Hundreds of people from southern California are on their way to Phoenix to protest Arizona’s new immigration law, even though a judge yesterday struck down some of the most controversial elements. Several dozen protesters marched in a procession to Trinity Church in Phoenix. The procession took the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the church at dawn in Phoenix. Lenora Marie Sanchez with the Unitarian Universalist Church was one of the protesters. "I'm here because we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person," said Sanchez, "and that all of us are interconnected, and that the people who are immigrants come here to work. And we need people who want to work, and they are being victims of a broken immigration system." Updated at 6:39 a.m. | Permalink SB1070 opponents attend Phoenix prayer vigil Download
A federal judge yesterday blocked portions of Arizona’s new immigration law, which goes in effect today. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez spoke to two opponents of SB1070 Wednesday night at a prayer vigil outside the state Capitol building in Phoenix. About a thousand opponents of SB1070 gathered at the vigil Wednesday night to protest Arizona's new immigration law. The protesters included husband and wife Frank Penich and Ardi Ellibee, who live in the Phoenix suburbs. "I believe it puts a particular burden on a particular class of people," said Penich. "Hispanics, mostly, because that's where we happen to be, close to the border. And again, it's attributing the problems of, again, the war on drugs, etc., on them, even though, for the most part, immigrants come here to work. They work in our fast food restaurants, they pick our crops, etc., and I think people don't appreciate the contribute they are making to our society. They're strictly looking at the negatives, and not giving them a chance." "Well, the eyes of the nation are on Arizona, I feel for negative reasons," said Ellibee, "and it's a little embarrassing to be looked at as though possibly I'm supporting the laws that Arizona is trying to enact." Southern Californian activists gather to protest Arizona immigration law Several hundred people boarded about a dozen charter buses this morning at Dodger Stadium, to ride to Phoenix and join protests today against Arizona's new immigration law. The protesters this morning included members of unions and religious groups, according to broadcast news reports. Even though key portions of the Arizona law were blocked by a federal judge, protestors believe the ruling will be challenged in an appeal and they want to show their willingness to continue the fight against the law Also, members of the Los Angeles City Council said Wednesday they had no immediate plans to lift the city's economic boycott of the state in lieu of the ruling. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday blocking several sections of SB 1070 from taking effect. Most notably, she blocked the provision that requires law enforcement officials to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws, if they reasonably suspect the person is in the country illegally. Despite the judge's ruling, hundreds of Southland immigrant-rights activists were still traveling to Arizona to protest the measure. Members of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition gathered yesterday morning to pile into vehicles bound for Arizona, where they plan to participate in protests today -- when the law had been scheduled to take effect. "People that come here deserve rights. They deserve equality. They don't deserve to be harassed," protester David Feldman told reporters before heading toward Arizona. Union members led by the Los Angeles County Federal of Labor, AFL-CIO, also planned to boarding buses bound for Arizona later Wednesday. This story incorporates information from KPCC wire services.

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