Hundreds rally for immigration reform - | WBTV Charlotte

Hundreds rally for immigration reform

By Derrick Rose bio | email | Twitter


In the Queen City Saturday, waves of emotion flooded city streets, all demanding immigration reform.

"We are here to show that we support the Latino community and their fight, but this is not just their fight, but all of our fight because whatever happens to them affect all of us,"Charlotte NAACP member Kogo Nantambu said.

Much of the passion fueled by 287g, a section of a 1995 law that gives local police the power to enforce immigration laws. But people marching feel the law is being used simply to deport illegal immigrants for petty crimes. They call it a law that rips families apart.

"They are not thinking about the children who are here whose parents might not come home or there is a knock at the door and a police officer is there and that adult is removed out of the household," organizer LaWanna Mayfield said.

Across the country, protesters found a surge of support. May Day rallies in several major cities targeted Arizona's controversial law. It requires police to routinely question people about their immigration status if officers have reason to believe the person is in the country illegally. Some feel it's an open door for racial profiling.

"They passed a law that is very racist, unconstitutional, unamerican, costly, unwise legislation," Rosa Mendoza said in front of the White House.

"If it can happen in Arizona, it can happen here," a protester in Charlotte added.

From Charlotte, voices echoed nationwide. But more than speaking up, they want to be heard. "People are going to fight and stand up and fight for their rights, fight for justice, against the barriers of discrimination that separate us, I think eventually all of our leaders will begin to see that this is something they must pay attention to," Nantambu said.

On this day, it was something hard to ignore.

The rally here in charlotte remained peaceful. There were no reports of any incidents. That was not the case in Washington where police arrested more 35 protesters including U.S. Congressman Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D-Ill).

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