Immigration debate heats up as crowds gather for May Day

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - Authorities were ready for just about any outcome at two separate May Day events in the Valley.

The annual Cinco de Mayo event in downtown Phoenix is a very family-oriented festivity.

A protest at the state capitol has drawn close to 2,000 people but the message remains a peaceful and clear one opposed to Senate Bill 1070, which was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer.

The law requires immigrants to carry their documents at all times and allows police to question people if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

One person 3TV spoke to asks, “What is reasonably suspicious? Is it the color of my skin?”

That is a common question and a growing fear. Many of the protesters believe the law will result in racial profiling when what they want is comprehensive immigration reform.

Sherrie Soria says, “We need to get away from racism, find a solution for the 12 million people here in the United States without documents but are families getting deported children be left alone. It's not right. It's not American.”

3TV also spoke to many people who say they are proud Americans. Joshua tells 3TV, “I'm holding the American flag and I'm so proud to hold it because I'm a citizen against this law. We need immigration reform.”

Among the roughly 2,000 protesters there were a few in favor of Senate Bill 1070. John tells 3TV, “Expecting more than three people…thought it would be a little more balanced but we're the minority here.”

For that reason police worked hard to keep the peace, even escorting one minuteman away, a man who says he feels let down by the feds and is proud of Arizona's new law.

He says, “Nobody else is taking care of our border and the residents here, the legal residents.”

The Cinco de Mayo celebration on Jefferson between 1st and 6th Avenues continues through Sunday.