Local News

Protesters gather in Raleigh against Arizona immigration law

Posted July 29, 2010 8:50 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2010 5:33 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina opponents of a tough new Arizona immigration law marched in Raleigh Thursday to protest what they fear will be racial profiling against Hispanics.

The Arizona law taking effect Thursday was diluted by a federal judge, but about 250 protesters still gathered and marched on the state Capitol Building in Raleigh to voice their opposition.

"(It’s an) unjust and inhumane law, and we just don’t want it to spread to other states in the country, and we just think this is … it’s wrong,” said protester Monserrat Alvarez, who said her parents are illegal immigrants.

North Carolina Justice Center organizer Fernando Mejia says his group gets complaints about racial profiling across the state. Organizers said they want an end to immigration raids and deportations and develop a fair immigration policy.

"This is creating a wedge between minority communities and the police, because they do not feel safe calling the police for help," said organizer Ilana Dubester.

Outside the chanting crowd, Ron Humble said he sees things from a different angle and thinks the immigration laws are being ignored.

"People are angry about the soaring deficit," he said. "The federal government won't enforce their owns laws. It's as simple as that."

North Carolina legislators recently introduced a resolution similar to the controversial legislation in Arizona. It would require aliens to carry documentation at all times. Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, was a sponsor.

"We have a huge illegal immigration problem. (It's) very expensive for taxpayers," he said.

However, Hunt said he does not support singling out groups on the street for checks.

"That is profiling, and that is not appropriate," he said.

That resolution in the General Assembly did not get very far. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina is among a handful of states that did not pass an immigration law this year so far. Montana, North Dakota, Nevada and Texas are the others.

A federal judge Wednesday blocked a provision in the Arizona law that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.