Groups protest Ariz. immigration law's enforcement

Associated Press Modified: September 20, 2012 at 2:17 am •  Published: September 20, 2012
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PHOENIX (AP) — A day after the most contentious provision of Arizona's immigration law took effect, rallies were held around Phoenix to protest the mandate that civil rights activists say will lead to systematic racial profiling.

More than three dozen activists stood outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building along a busy thoroughfare Wednesday evening. They chanted: "No papers, no fear."

Carlos Garcia, an organizer with the immigrant rights group the Puente Movement, said the strategy is to urge people not to cooperate with immigration enforcement efforts — whether they're in the country legally or not.

Tempe resident Beatrice Jernigan said friends who are in the country illegally are scared.

"They don't know what's going to happen. They're more cautious," she said. "Some parents who are illegal immigrants are not allowing their kids to participate in afterschool sports."

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that police could immediately start enforcing the so-called "show me your papers" provision of Arizona's immigration law. It requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the provision in June on the grounds that it doesn't conflict with federal law. Opponents argued that the provision would lead to systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detention of Latinos, and they unsuccessfully asked Bolton to block it.

Bolton said the law's opponents were merely speculating on the racial profiling claims. She did leave the door open to challenges if the claims can be proven.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a request to halt the provision.

In the meantime, an education campaign for illegal immigrants to remain largely silent when they're pulled over by police is being put into practice across the state.

Leticia Ramirez has been telling people who live in the U.S. without legal permission, like she does, that they should offer only their name and date of birth if they're pulled over. She also tells them not to carry any documents that show where they were born.

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