PHOENIX, April 25 (UPI) -- Protesters in Arizona rallied against the state's strict new immigration law Sunday as a growing number of opponents said they planned legal challenges.
Critics say the law would result in racial profiling, give the state immigration enforcement responsibility the Constitution says should be left to the federal government alone and possibly violate constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Chanting "Yes we can," waving American flags and holding signs reading "We have rights" and "We are human," hundreds of demonstrators protested outside the Capitol building in Phoenix against the law signed Friday by Gov. Jan Brewer, CNN reported.
"What is 'reasonable suspicion?'" protester Jose Acosta asked. "Are we going to get pulled over just because of a broken taillight or because of the color of our skin?"
Kearny Police Chief Joe Martinez called critics' concerns unfounded and noted Arizona law enforcement includes a lot of Hispanics.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon joined demonstrators protesting the law, which he called unconstitutional and "just plain wrong," promising a court fight.
"America is a country that is compassionate and that welcomes everyone," he said. "This (law) is not what this country and this state was founded upon."
The Rev. Al Sharpton and leaders of the National Action Network, the Hispanic Federation and the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which represents 30,000 Latino churches worldwide, also said they planned legal challenges.
"In addition to this law being illegal, if this law goes into effect, we expect it to have a dramatic affect on the state with U.S. citizens, legal residents and others moving out of the state out of fear of being singled out," William Sanchez, an immigration attorney representing the coalition, said in a statement.
After signing the measure, Brewer called it "another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix -- the crisis caused by illegal immigration and Arizona's porous border."
The law, which is to take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, makes failure to have immigration documents a misdemeanor. Local law-enforcement officers with a "reasonable suspicion" a person is an undocumented immigrant will have the authority to ask about immigration status and arrest people who cannot immediately prove they are legally in the United States.
President Barack Obama Friday said he told administration officials to "closely monitor" the civil-rights implications of the Arizona law.