2 May 2010

Protests in US over Arizona immigration law

12:15 pm on 2 May 2010

Demonstrations have been held in the United States against an anti-immigration law introduced in Arizona.

The new law requires police to question anyone suspected of being in the US illegally. Opponents say it could lead to Hispanics being targeted and inflame racial tensions.

The BBC reports the biggest protest took place in Los Angeles, where an estimated 100,000 people joined a march led by singer Gloria Estefan. Others were planned in more than 70 cities across the country.

The law was signed on 23 April by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who said it "protects every American citizen".

Those unable to show that they are legally allowed in the US could be given six-month prison sentences and fined $US2500.

Supporters of the bill say it will help bring illegal immigration under control in Arizona, which borders Mexico. The state is the main entry point for undocumented immigrants into the United States.

There are an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona.