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Foes of AZ Immigration Law Plan National March on Phoenix

May 26, 2010

PHOENIX - More than 50,000 people are expected to march through downtown Phoenix on Saturday, May 29, to protest Arizona's new immigration law.

The law requires authorities to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a restaurateur, says Mexican-American citizens are horrified at the prospect of being arrested and deported for lack of documents.

"I have people coming to my restaurant, just in fear. Older people who have been here and their families have been here, are now asking, 'Should I get a passport to protect myself?'"

Organizers are also expanding a national boycott of companies linked with campaign contributions to supporters of the new law. That boycott began with picketing at Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games. One of the latest targets is a beer distributorship largely owned by the wife of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain.

Alfredo Gutierrez, who chairs the Arizona Boycott Committee, says a political action committee controlled by the distributor has contributed heavily to lawmakers responsible for the new Arizona law.

"There are plenty of beers in the world. There are plenty of light beers in the world. There is simply no need to support a company that is subsidizing the forces of hate in Arizona."

As director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Pablo Alvarado says marchers will demand that President Obama and his administration refuse to cooperate with Arizona's new law, and end agreements on immigration enforcement with local police.

"That the administration assert the federal government's exclusive authority to enforce immigration law."

Saturday's march begins at 8:00 a.m. at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix. Backers of the new law are planning a counterdemonstration, also on Saturday.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ