The crowd of 100 chanted, “Arizona escucha, Nueva York esta en la lucha” – Spanish for “Arizona, listen, New York is fighting” – while waving banners that read “Boycott Arizona” and “Oppose SB1070.”
SB1070, the controversial Arizona law, would give the police powers to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant, require cops to check the legal status of anyone stopped for violating the law, and penalize immigrants who did not have registration papers on hand.
A federal judge blocked provisions on the law on July 28 - one day before it was to take effect. This hold is not a permanent measure, however, and the law will have to work its way through the courts before a final ruling.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has challenged the decision and will make her arguments to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this November.
Darsella Vigil, who marched together with protesters from 83rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue to the stadium, wants the law reversed. “This bill of racial profiling is unjust,” said Vigil, whose mother is an illegal resident from Cuba and her father is Mexican.
She said that relatives on her father’s side are often harassed and stopped and frisked by the police because of their darker skin. “To give a human being in the police force...discretion on what an immigrant looks like, I don’t think that’s fair,” Vigil said. “Who knows what an illegal immigrant looks like?”
At the starting point of the march, protestors distributed leaflets calling on Major League Baseball to move next year's All-Star game out of Phoenix. Advocates rallied the crowd to fight for immigrant rights. In one corner, a couple silently held hands and lifted signs that called for the end to raids and deportations.
Oscar Pinonez, an undocumented worker, waved a patchwork of flags while consoling his wailing one-year-old son.
“[The law] is not fair for the immigrant people that come and we help the economy of this country, said Pinonez. “We deserve something better. We are not begging, we deserve something better - like amnesty.”
Corona resident Maegan Ortiz, who is Nuyorican, said that she is opposed to the law because it targets Latino minorities.
“If I am in Arizona, all they have to do is look at my last name, hear me speaking Spanish or see me speaking Spanish, they will have a right to stop me,” she said.
“SB1070 affects all Latinos and all immigrants,” she added. “They’re not going to stopping European-looking people,” she added.
At the margins of the crowd, Kevin Kang, an activist, was trying to mobilize members of Minkwon Center for Community Action, a Flushing-based Korean American advocacy group.
He said that it is the Asian community’s “own fault” that it has been sidelined in the immigration debate because of its passivity.
“There’s a stereotype that this is a Latino issue,” said Kang. “We’re trying to make a statement and build a movement within the Asian-American community that immigrant and human rights is our field as well.”
His group of ten, however, left the rally halfway and decided to make their own way to Citi Field. They did not gather with the rest of the protesters at the end point.
Mets fans waiting outside the stadium said that they were just hoping to have a good time out and they didn’t expect the game to be politically charged.
Two protestors took spectators by surprise when they ran onto the field carrying Mexican flags during the seventh inning on Friday.
"It's not going to distract me. I'm here to play baseball," Diamondbacks interim manager Kirk Gibson said after his team scored a 9-6 victory over the Mets.