Around 200 immigrants rallied at Washington Square Park in Charleston today/Monday in protest to South Carolina’s new anti-immigration law. The “SB 20 Unity and Peace Rally” was right across from the U.S. District Courthouse where, inside, the Justice Department was challenging South Carolina’s anti-immigration law (SB 20).
Priscilla (who would not give her last name) was at the protest. Here’s why–
“I’m out here for support. For support because I feel like racism is wrong. If we are a free country, we should allow everybody to have their freedom and that’s why I’m here today,” says Priscilla.
South Carolina’s law under protest declares a police officer has the power to ask anyone they suspect is in the country illegally to show that officer proof of citizenship.
“In South Carolina I think that everybody should give each other a fair chance to be legal and to all come together in our country as legal citizens and the racism needs to stop. It needs to stop,” says Priscilla.
Protesters say the law promotes racial profiling, is unconstitutional, hurts the state’s economy, and tears families apart.
Supporters want the law to go into effect on January 1 because they say it will combat illegal immigration in the state.
Jesus Fernandez is from Texas and agreed to protest with his uncle–from South Carolina.
“I just don’t think it’s right–racial profiling. Just because somebody stops you because of a traffic stop and they have to ask you your status. Why do you need to know the status, you know what I mean? I’m not going to stop and ask somebody, ‘Hey, are you illegal?’ I wouldn’t do that,” says Fernandez.
Fernandez says he believes it’s discrimination to pick and choose who officers can ask for proof of citizenship.
“That’s racial profiling and I don’t think that is right. America wasn’t built on those morals and everybody here who has come here has come from some sort of immigration background. Think back early in the Mayflower days, they were immigrants into this country too,” says Fernandez.
South Carolina Immigration Coalition’s Jheanelk Wilkins is the organizer of the rally.
“We came out here to make sure there was a strong voice of opposition in South Carolina against the anti-immigrant law–SB 20. And for those who don’t know about this law, it stands to encourage racial profiling. Basically it says when an officer pulls someone over or stops someone, they can check their immigration status,” says Wilkins.
Wilkins says they held a prayer vigil across the state Sunday night as well–to, what she says, try and overturn this unjust law.