Thousands rally in favor of Arizona immigration law

Saturday, June 5, 2010
By Paul Martin

ABC15.com

PHOENIX – On Saturday, nearly 2,000 people gathered from around the country at the Arizona State Capitol in support of Arizona’s new immigration law.

“It’s a grassroots effort that really took off,” Daniel Smeriglio, one of the people behind the march said Friday.

Since Senate Bill 1070 passed in late April, protests and marches have been almost a daily occurance.

The law requires that police conducting traffic stops or questioning people about possible legal violations ask them about their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they’re in the country illegally.

Hundreds of motorcycle riders kicked off the downtown Phoenix rally off around by riding in a procession around the Capitol. Supporters waved American flags and some carried signs that read “What part of illegal don’t they understand?”

“Arizona is doing what America should be doing,” said John Anderson who came from Illinois for the event.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, perhaps best known for his efforts targeting illegal immigrants, drew loud chants of “Joe, Joe, Joe!” from the crowd.

One man yelled to him: “We’ve got your back, Joe!”

Arpaio praised lawmakers for passing the law and reiterated that he’ll lock up as many illegal immigrants as his deputies can arrest.

“We’ll put tents from here to Mexico,” he told the crowd, referring to his famed Tent City, a section of the county jail where all inmates are housed in surplus military tents.

Also scheduled to speak were former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado and GOP state Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa, the author of the law that is set to go into effect July 29.

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