Federal judges consider constitutionality of Arizona immigration law

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A panel of three federal appeals judges is considering the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law that cracks down on undocumented immigrants. Southland immigrant-rights supporters protested after attorneys argued in a San Francisco courtroom Monday.

The religious representatives, day laborers and human-rights activists call themselves “Todos Somos Arizona,” Spanish for “We’re all Arizonans.” They chanted in English and Spanish, declaring solidarity with undocumented families and workers in Arizona.

“Human right, under attack, what do we do? Stand Up! Fight Back!”

Vivek Mittal, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, said the protest also emphasized his organization’s lawsuit against the issue. “And we’re challenging that fact that this SB 1070 violates equal protection and the constitution and violates First Amendment free-speech concerns.”

For example, Mittal said, the state’s law keeps undocumented day laborers from looking for work. About four dozen protesters gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles.

South Asian organizer Hamid Khan says SB 1070’s underlying message is that undocumented immigrants threaten national security. "And hence they are always suspect. That kinda takes every community into its fold, whether you’re Pakistani, whether you’re Chicano, whether you’re from Korea.”

Arizona’s anti-immigration law is broader and stricter than federal homeland security policies. The Obama Administration has challenged it for overstepping the boundaries of state jurisdiction. The three-judge panel may deliberate as long as it needs to before it issues a ruling.