PHOENIX - Arizona asked an appeals court yesterday to lift a judge's order blocking most of the state's immigration law as the city of Phoenix filled with protesters, including about 50 who were arrested after confronting officers in riot gear.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer called U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's Wednesday decision halting the law "a bump in the road," and the state appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday.
Outside the state Capitol, hundreds of protesters began marching at dawn, gathering in front of the courthouse where Bolton issued her ruling. They marched on to the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a crackdown on illegal immigration one of his signature issues.
At least 32 demonstrators were arrested after blocking the entrance to the Maricopa County jail in downtown Phoenix. Sheriff's deputies in riot gear opened the doors and waded out into the crowd, hauling off those who didn't move.
Dozens of others were arrested throughout the day, trying to cross a police line, entering closed-off areas or sitting in the street and refusing to leave.
Arpaio vowed to go ahead with a crime sweep targeting illegal immigrants. Phoenix police made most of the early arrests, before protesters moved to the jail.
"My deputies will arrest them and put them in pink underwear," Arpaio said, referring to one of his odd methods of punishment for prisoners. "Count on it."
Arizona is the nation's epicenter of illegal immigration, with more than 400,000 undocumented residents. Supporters of the new law say the influx of illegal migrants drains vast sums of money from hospitals, education and other services.
In New York City, about 300 immigrant advocates gathered near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, a first-generation Caribbean-American, told the crowd: "We won a slight battle in Arizona, we've got to continue with the war."