Workers rally to seek protection from new immigration laws - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Workers rally to seek protection from new immigration laws

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PHOENIX -

While immigration reform continues to be debated in Washington, folks right here in the valley are gathering at the State Capitol to protest the issue.

Immigrant workers rallied Monday to seek protection from new immigration laws that could send them back home.

This is just one of several immigration events hosted by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations happening across the country.

Protestors are asking that Arizona's congressional leaders support common sense immigration reform, including a practical way to obtain citizenship.

A few dozen people came out carrying banners to the demonstration at Steele Indian School Park near 3rd Street and Indian School Road.  They protested Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids and the separation of families due to illegal immigrants being deported.

"This is one of many many cities we are demonstrating union support for fair immigration reform, focus on rights of people to be treated the same as everyone else," said Maria Elena Durazo, AFL-CIO.

"We talk about amnesty, the group that gets amnesty now is employers that want cheap labor and horrendous recruitment agencies who bring workers in and rip off gigantic percentages of the pay immigrant workers get," said Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America.

The protestors marched to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Central Avenue, then headed to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office in downtown Phoenix.

Statement by County Attorney on immigration protests:

I support people exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances and to speak freely, rights which, among others, more than one million Americans have died defending.  Today's demonstrations highlight the consequences of our federal government's failure to address a broken immigration system and to properly secure our borders.

While I continue to support reasonable and necessary federal immigration reforms, I remain equally committed to enforcing the laws I have sworn to uphold as County Attorney.   My Office will continue to make charging decisions based on an individual's conduct -- not his or her race, ethnicity or residency status.  We do not initiate prosecutions to achieve a particular immigration outcome, nor do we control the federal consequences of state-level convictions.  I reject any call to treat one particular group more or less harshly than any other, or to mix politics with criminal justice.

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