cityhall3.jpgImmigrant rights advocates joined San Francisco city officials for a vigil outside City Hall today in protest of a controversial Arizona state law being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

SB 1070, passed in Arizona in April 2010, required local police to determine the immigration status of people they reasonably suspected to be in the country illegally.

The U.S. Department of Justice challenged the constitutionality of the law and a federal judge agreed to an injunction blocking key provisions of the law. Arizona has appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the case today.

Emmanuelle Leal-Santillan, a community organizer with the San Francisco Organizing Project, called the law “anti-immigration, anti-community and anti-family” and said this morning’s rally was “to send a message to the Supreme Court to protect our basic human rights.”

Denia Perez, a senior at San Francisco State University, talked about how federal immigration policies have affected her.

Perez said her parents received deportation notices in 2010 and that she is also undocumented and has been afraid to speak out for fear of deportation.

“My parents and I are not a threat to this country and its security,” she said. “Though we do not have the legal papers to prove it, we are as much a part of this society as those who were born here.”

Supervisors Eric Mar, John Avalos and Jane Kim each spoke at the rally and compared SB 1070 to a controversial federal program, Secure Communities, which has led to many deportations locally.

That program requires fingerprints of undocumented immigrants booked into local jails to be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. San Francisco officials have chosen to not report people arrested for low-level misdemeanors to the federal authorities.

Avalos said, “Every time we have a racist law that puts down our people, we have to fight back.”

Kim said “intelligent and compassionate immigration reform is the only thing that will make our country safer.”

She said a program like Secure Communities “only makes our communities less safe and tears apart our families who contribute to our economy and our community.”

Kim said S-Comm has led to nearly 68,000 deportations in California since its inception in 2009.

Mar said the city will continue to fight “against S-Comm and any other federal policy that tears us apart and scapegoats immigrants.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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