Thousands Expected to March for Immigrant Rights Saturday

Thousands of protesters angered by the newly approved Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants are expected to march in Downtown Los Angeles and cities across the country on Saturday.
Rally organizers have been urging people to attend Saturday's "May Day" march and rally on Broadway as a show of opposition to the newly approved Arizona law that requires law enforcement authorities to inquire about people's immigration status and makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to be in the state.

"It is estimated that masses of workers will take to the streets in over 70 cities nationally to not only decry the horrible legislative act in Arizona, but to demand a fair and humane immigration reform by this Democratic administration in 2010,'' said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association and an organizer of Saturday's planned event.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said he expects Saturday's march and rally to be peaceful, devoid of the clashes between participants, police and news media that marred the 2007 event in MacArthur Park.

Beck said he does not support the Arizona law, saying the LAPD's Special Order 40 -- which prevents officers from contacting people solely to verify if they are legal residents -- has worked effectively for more than three decades.

"The positive relationships that are built with Special Order 40 far outweigh whatever minor inconvenience it is, you know, to a field officer," Beck told KCAL9. "And the reality is ... when people are arrested we deal with their immigration status. ... It just precludes officers from initiating contact based on immigration status."

Asked about the Arizona law, Beck said, "That's certainly not the way I would do it."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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