QUEENS (WABC) — If it happened in Arizona, it could happen here in New York. That’s the fear of many protestors who rallied Saturday against a controversial new Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants.
They urged President Obama to hear their complaints.
Some of the demonstrators said, while choking back tears, that they fear a new immigration law in Arizona, will legalize racial profiling.
"We can’t even put into words the kind of insult this legislation is for our communities," said immigrants’ rights advocate, Ana Maria Archila.**
On Friday, Arizona’s governor signed the bill into law amidst protest, in a state facing a host of problems along the Mexican border.
"Border related violence and crime, due to illegal immigration, are critical important issues for the people of our state," explained Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
The law makes it a crime in Arizona, if you don’t carry your immigration documents on you.
It also gives police broader power to detain you if they think you are in the state illegally.
In places like Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst, where immigrants define the very fabric of the community, there is extreme concern about the Arizona law becoming a trend.
"Even if you go to the store, you have to bring ID with you, that means, like a dog has to be going with a collar," said Sara Jaramillo,*** and Ecuadorian immigrant.
They’re concerned about potential abuse from authorities, and about potential difficulty getting work.
"We’re going to be penalized, we’re going to be criminalized, and they’re treating us like the lowest of the low," said Jose Quizhpilema,*** a day laborer.
"Police officers are going to be respectful, they understand what their jobs are," said Governor Brewer.
Still, in Queens, immigrant advocates say the lack of any nationwide reform is what led up to this.
Now one state’s legislation has reignited one of our countries most divisive debates.
**Co-executive Director of Make the Road New York.
***Member of Make the Road New York
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