Elected official from Queens, other legislators and civil rights advocates denounced Arizonas new immigration law last Thursday as hateful, unconstitutional and creating a climate of intolerance.
Protesters gathered on the steps of City Hall to condemn Arizona law SB1070, which takes effect in a few weeks. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer, allows police to stop and question anybody they suspect might be an illegal alien.
Its simply unconstitutional, unacceptable and un-American, City Comptroller John Liu said. The former councilman represented Flushing, a heavily Asian community in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States.
Critics of the Arizona have called for boycotts of the state, home to the Grand Canyon, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.
Some form of boycott is necessary for the same reasons we, as a city, boycotted apartheid in South Africa more than 20 years ago, Liu said.
Most of those who spoke out against the Arizona law also urged Congress to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.
I and my colleagues are prepared to fight this hateful legislation by whatever means necessary, said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
Scores of demonstrators, representing a variety of ethnic and civil rights organizations outside City Hall, waved placards and cheered the speakers.
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said what immigrants want is what all New Yorkers want the right to pursue happiness and freedom in our great land. What matters is where we are going together.
About half of Queens population of 2.2 million are immigrants.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) said this bill strips away the core of what America stands for and promotes intolerance. She added, I am deeply troubled by the law signed by Arizona Gov. Brewer and the message it sends to those who believe immigrants have no place, protection or rights here in the United States.
Pointing to Councilwoman Gayle Brewer (D-Manhattan), Quinn said, We want it known that the Arizona governor is no relation to our councilwoman.
Ana Maria Archila, co-director of Make the Road New York, said the Arizona law sends the chilling message to Latino communities across the country that we are not welcome here, that the U.S. is not our country.
Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn) said the Arizona law was an affront to all Americans, not just the Latino community. Reyna condemned what she called a legacy of xenophobia among parts of our society.
Among elected officials at the rally were Council members Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).