Thursday, April 26, 2012

Charlotte Councilman speaks out against draconian immigration laws

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 9:20 AM

City Councilman John Autry told a gathering of about 50 people at a vigil in the front lawn of the Latin American Coalition Wednesday that anti-immigration laws such as Arizona's embattled SB 1070 are "cynical."

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday for and against the Arizona law. Later in the day justices suggested they likely would uphold the state's policies instructing police to check people's immigration status.

Autry speaks at the Latin American Coalition
  • Mark Kemp
  • Autry speaks at the Latin American Coalition
Councilman Autry attended the local vigil to support members of his district, which includes a large population of Latinos. The councilman strongly criticized the Arizona law as well as any similar measures under consideration in North Carolina. "These laws are meant to stoke fear," Autry told the crowd. "These laws are cynical."

The group had gathered at 7:30 p.m. to show its solidarity with immigrants in other parts of the country - particularly those in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, where draconian laws regarding undocumented residents have either been passed or are under consideration.

About 50 showed up for Latin American Coalition vigil
  • Mark Kemp
  • About 50 showed up for Latin American Coalition vigil

Other members of the community offered comments, too, including Jess George, the Latin American Coalition's executive director, who said that if the Supreme Court upholds the Arizona law, "it will be legalizing racial profiling."

The last to speak was a teenage boy, whose words rang similar to those of teenagers during another civil rights movement some 50 years ago. The boy attended Wednesday's vigil, he said, because he fears living in an area where, whether or not he is documented, he will be judged for the "color of my skin, for my ethnicity."


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