More than 100 people are expected to gather in San Francisco this afternoon to call for federal immigration reform, just hours after a federal judge blocked key parts of a controversial Arizona law that is set to take effect Thursday.
The rally, organized by the SF Bay Area Coalition for Immigration Reform, is meant to encourage Congress and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “take leadership and fix this terribly broken immigration system,” coalition spokesman Jon Rodney said.
Senate Bill 1070 requires police, “when practicable,” to determine the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect to be in the country illegally.
The law drew widespread condemnation from immigration and civil rights advocates and many elected officials, including President Obama.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint earlier this month challenging the constitutionality of the law, and today U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed to an injunction that blocks key provisions of the law.
The law will still go into effect Thursday without those provisions, which include requiring police officers to determine the immigration status of a person detained and arrested, making it a crime for people to not carry alien registration papers, and making it a crime for an
unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for or perform work.
Eric Quezada, another spokesman for the coalition, said he is glad about the judge’s decision, but said that “in a lot of ways this doesn’t change much of what the immigrant community is facing.”
“We welcome the decision, but it doesn’t really change our demand for the federal government to move (on the issue),” Quezada said. “They’re part of the problem — that’s why so many localities are thinking they have to take the law into their own hands.”
Rally organizers are urging Congress to pass the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, also called the DREAM Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants who enlist in the military or attend college.
Rodney said rally organizers also are calling for a halt to collaboration between local law enforcement and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement officials, such as occurs with the Secure Communities program, which began to be implemented in San Francisco last month.
The program is active in a number of other counties in California, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Sonoma counties.
Those programs lead to the deportation of about 1,100 immigrants nationwide every day, according to the coalition.
“These are families being separated and people thrown away from jobs,” Quezada said.
Speakers at the rally are expected to include San Francisco supervisors David Chiu and David Campos, and the Rev. Marc Andrus, who is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, according to Rodney.
The rally is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. outside the San Francisco Federal Building at 90 Seventh St.