Thousands rallied in NYC to protest AZ immigration law

May 1, 2010 3:28:00 PM PDT
From Union Square to Foley Square the already burning issue of illegal immigration got even hotter on Saturday, as thousands marched for immigration reform. "Reform that treats everyone with respect and fairness, it should not treat illegal immigrants as criminals," said demonstrator Chris Wong.

"We are working hard and that is the American dream, that's what we are looking for, not to go down, we're trying to go up," said an unidentified Honduran immigrant.

A new immigration law in Arizona that allows police to stop people to see if they have legal documentation has provided a new rallying cry for thousands of demonstrators who see the law as state sanctioned profiling.

"A person like me for example, would probably not be stopped, just because I'm blonde I look like an American although I'm an immigrant, but a person of a different color or looking Hispanic would be stopped," said demonstrator Britta Schultz from Brooklyn.

There were some in the crowd that were so frustrated with Congress' failure to deal with the illegal immigration problem, that they support Arizona's stricter immigration measures.

"If you come with the intent to become a citizen then comply with those laws, then you're not illegal. But if you are coming to stay under the wire, work for minimum wage and be exploited how could you complain about your circumstances?" said Ronald Colbert, a supporter of Arizona's new law.

One thing that seemed clear by the turnout of Saturday's rallies, the Congress and the President won't be able to put off the problem any longer.

"If we continue to be recognized as the immigrant country, and we continue to welcome people, and we continue to do it in a fair way where if you come, you contribute, you pay your taxes, you are willing to get in line on a legal list that will allow you into the country, then I think everyone will support that," demonstrator Vincent Auagliano.