Local Immigration Reform Protest Draws Big Crowds

September 27, 2013 Updated May 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

September 27, 2013 Updated May 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Protestors demanding national immigration reform marched from Downtown Buffalo to Martin Luther King Junior Park, calling on state lawmakers to protect the rights of immigrants.

Today almost 47 cities staged protests against the new Arizona law, including right here in Buffalo.

"It's racist, it's unconstitutional, it's a bill which puts the job of the federal immigration officials on local policeman. A lot of local policeman in Arizona are actually against this," said Sergio Tupac Uzurin of Reform Immigration For America.

Protestor Simeon Konen agrees, "I think you ought to punish the person for what he did, not for where he came from."

The law was passed just over a week ago. It requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and allows police to question anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant.

"We remember those days that was in...the Nazi days with Hitler. Jews had to wear a label that said that they were Jewish and we don't want to go back to those days."

Officials in Arizona sticking by the bill, pointing to a case Friday where a group of supposed illegal immigrants smuggling drugs shot an Arizona sheriff's deputy. They say more than half of illegal immigrants who come to America come into Arizona. They argue the bill is a crucial step in stopping the criminal element of illegal border crossing.

"The fact that they were waiting and ambushed our deputies is very concerning but it points to the fact that what we have said for the last
several months is that this had reached a critical mass for law enforcement and we've been calling out to our leaders in the state and at the national level that we need help," said Sheriff Paul Babeu of the Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff's Office.

The governor of Arizona did make some recent changes to the bill. Now officers can only stop suspected illegal immigrants if they violate some other law at the same time.