LULAC denounces immigration law in Arizona

April 29, 2010 3:38:51 PM PDT
Arizona's controversial new immigration enforcement law is causing a stir well outside of Arizona's borders. There have been calls for boycotts and protests across the nation and here in Houston. The concern now for immigrant advocates is that measures similar to the Arizona law will spread to other states.

"They're coming after the Hispanics today. Who are they coming after next?" said League of United Latin American Citizens representative Francisco Rodriguez.

Already lawmakers in Oklahoma, Georgia, Maryland and Utah have talked about it. On Wednesday, so did Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle of Tomball.

"The legislators need to wake up to the fact that this is what the people want," said Rep. Riddle.

Aside from calling for economic sanctions against Arizona, these activists are attempting to flex their own political muscle, and brace for what could be coming.

"We have meetings set up with the Hispanic Caucus, the African-American Caucus, all the caucuses so that we can to make sure that what happened in Arizona does not happen in our great state of Texas," said LULAC representative Mary Ramos.

"Those of us who have fought for what is a true bill of rights in this country, those of us who believe in the constitution of this country, we need to stand up and voice our opinion to this particular thing that is happening. It is a horrendous thing," said Rodriguez.

Despite the outrage by many, including those holding the press conference Thursday, multiple polls show a majority of Americans support the Arizona legislation. That makes the job here that much more challenging.

"We believe in securing the border. but it has to be safe on both sides. Safe for the officers as well as safe for the immigrants," said Sylvia Gonzalez.

LULAC says it's formulating legal action to overturn this law and in response to any legislator who would try to pass a law here in Texas. Locally, part of LULAC's action will mean boycotting the next Astros game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In addition, LULAC says Saturday's May Day march is still scheduled to proceed. They are expecting at least 2,000 people because of all of the talk about immigration, similar to what we saw in 2006 when it was such a hot topic.

The local group says they have even gotten threats that they have reported to police, but they do say it will be safe for people to attend.

In Arizona, two federal lawsuits were filed Thursday, challenging the immigration law. A 15-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department filed one challenge. He argues there's no way for officers to confirm people's immigration status without impeding investigations. In a separate lawsuit, the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders is seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law.

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