Critics, backers of Arizona immigration law rally

Thousands of civil rights and labor activists from across the United States — carrying banners that read: “Obama Keep Your Promise” — rallied in Phoenix to protest the law, which requires state and local police to investigate the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

Opponents charge the law is unconstitutional and will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics, who make up about a third of Arizona’s population. Roughly 11 million people are thought to be living in the United States illegally.

Later in the day, several thousand people held a smaller counter-rally outside Phoenix in support of the measure, which is supported by a solid majority of voters both in Arizona and nationally.

Passed by Republicans in Arizona’s state Legislature, the law is due to take effect on July 29, subject to legal challenges. It seeks to push illegal immigrants from the desert state, a major corridor for migrant and drug smugglers crossing from Mexico.

The law comes at a difficult time for President Barack Obama, who has failed so far to deliver on his promise to Hispanic voters of an immigration overhaul. His Democratic Party faces a tough fight to maintain its congressional majorities in elections this fall.

“He can stop this. He promised to be fair with us,political polls, and he is not doing anything,” said Silvia Andrade, 52, a business owner who drove to the protest rally from California.

The protesters marched several miles

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