Thousands of students flock to Capitol to protest SB1070


by Catherine Holland

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 22 at 6:23 PM

PHOENIX – Hundreds of protestors descended on the Arizona State Capitol lawn Thursday, arriving by bus and on foot.

They are too young to vote, but hundreds of students cut classes to express their opinions on SB1070, the controversial anti-illegal-immigration bill sitting on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.

They are all in opposition to Senate Bill 1070, the unprecedented immigration legislation that has thrust Arizona onto the national stage.

Many of the demonstrators at the Capitol are high school students. Groups of students across Phoenix staged classroom walk-outs, starting early Thursday morning.

"[We want] to let the governor know ... that we're not going to stand for this. Not one bit," said Luis Soto, the organizer of the protest. "[SB1070] is basically legalized racial profiling. ... That goes against everything that we've been fighting for in America."

The students are not the only protestors at the Capitol. There are a few self-identified Tea Party members who say they support SB 1070. 

Some of the students who were heading to the protest were detained by school officials.

Soto said it's possible that he and other students could be suspended for ditching school to take part in the protest, but it's a risk they're willing to take.

Soto said his parents were behind him 100 percent in his decision to organize the peaceful protest.

Students from Trevor Browne, Maryvale and Cesar Chavez also walked out of their high schools later on in the morning and began marching towards the state Capitol. The group continues to expand as more students join in on the protest.

Brewer has not given any indication of what she will do with SB1070. She has until Saturday to sign the measure, veto it or do nothing, allowing it to become law without her signature.

The young protesters have been loud but for the most part respectful and peaceful.