Opponents of Arizona's new immigration law rallied in cities across the country yesterday. For their part, supporters of the law are standing firm. Bill Whitaker in Phoenix has filed this Sunday Journal:
From Los Angeles . . .
"I came out today for the Arizona people!" said one demonstrator.
. . . to New York . . .
"This country was founded on the backs of immigrants," said one woman.
From D.C. . . . to Dallas . . . May Day was a day of protest.
Tens of thousands of human rights activists, union members, citizens and immigrants marched through the streets of dozens of American cities demanding immigration reform, denouncing Arizona's controversial, new immigration law.
Immigration Law "Awakened a Sleeping Giant"
"This is not a racist country," said singer Gloria Estefan. "But sometimes laws get passed out of fear."
At the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix, they've been protesting all week.
Still, recent polls show 60% of Arizonans support the law, which requires police to check the citizenship of suspects involved in a crime or violation.
Why such strong support? Because of crimes like this: A Pinal County deputy shot Friday, allegedly by a drug smuggler here illegally from Mexico.
Phoenix is the kidnap capital of the U.S., most tied to Mexican drug smugglers.
"We're not going to tolerate it anymore," said Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, just south of Phoenix.
"Assaults against police officers, officer-involved shootings, home invasions, carjackings, violent crimes - Why is that? Is it a lawless state? We can clearly point to the flow of illegal immigrants," said Babeu.
More immigrants enter the U.S. illegally through Arizona than anywhere else. Almost 700,000 people have been caught crossing from Mexico in the last 2 1/2 years.
Outrage about border security became support for the new immigration law.
We met Mark Allen at a Phoenix diner:
"I don't think the rest of the country knows what we have to deal with here," he said.
"My main concern is that the federal government is not taking care of the problem. We shouldn't have had to make the law," said David Jenkins.
But many Latinos in Arizona complain the atmosphere and the new law cast them all as criminals.
Jessica (who asked us not to use her last name) said, "They don't see the difference of the ones that are working, that have babies here, that are trying to live a life here, that abide by the laws of the United States. They don't see that."
Jessica's mate, the father of her child, Gerardo, asked us to conceal his identity. He crossed illegally from Mexico four years ago.
"I got no papers. I got different color," said Gerardo.
Now Jessica, born in the U.S., is packing up, fearing they might have to flee their home, because of the new law.
"Yes, sir, we're gonna be leaving if things don't change."
But on May Day they joined the protest in Phoenix . . .
You think this will make a difference, Gerardo was asked. "Yeah, I hope," he replied.
Hoping, like everyone here, that the law will be overturned.
CBSNews.com Coverage of Arizona's New Immigration Law:
Manhunt Nets 17 in Ariz. Cop Shooting
Dobbs: Protests Against Ariz. Law Just "Theater"
Illegal Immigrants Sought in Ariz. Cop Shooting
Immigration Law Condemned by MLB Players' Union
Arizonans Say Immigration Law Will Reduce Crime
Arizona Immigration Law Backlash Intensifies
Ariz. Immigration Debate Zeros in on Baseball
2 Lawsuits Challenge Immigration Ariz. Law
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