Las Vegas Immigration Groups Outraged Over Arizona Law - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Immigration Groups Outraged Over Arizona Law

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LAS VEGAS -- Arizona's new immigration law has made that state a symbol for anti-immigration fervor nationally. Protesters smeared refried beans in the shape of Nazi swastikas on the state capitol's windows.

Opponents of the new state law say it will lead to racial profiling. Supporters say it will protect citizens from crimes of property and violence by illegal immigrants.

Las Vegas immigrant groups are gearing up for a fight if Nevada follows Arizona's lead. A group of Las Vegas activists just returned from Arizona. The group of labor leaders, students, preachers and politicians stood in opposition to Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.

"A number of us went to Arizona to stand with our brothers and sisters down there to support them in their fight against this. This bill is completely unjust," said Michael Flores with Reform Immigration for America.

"People are scared. They're not coming out of their homes. Students don't want to go to school. It is horrific," said Fernando Romero with Reform Immigration for America.

Governor Jim Gibbons is not planning on going down the same path as Arizona, saying that, "guarding the borders of our great nation is a federal responsibility that this administration is ignoring."

But the Minuteman Project urges Gibbons and other governors to enable law enforcement to ask people for proof of citizenship.

"I truly believe they should and the bill is completely in line with the federal government's immigration laws," said Carmen Mercer with the Minuteman Project. "If we hold the employers accountable, then we will have self-deportation -- attrition through enforcement."

Arizona's law has brought many in both sides to agree that comprehensive immigration reform is needed immediately. Democratic Assemblyman Mo Denis has a possible plan.

"Obviously, speak English. There's going to be some kind of penalties. But at least have the opportunity if you've been good, you've kept out of trouble," he said.

But as the group of activists recalled their experiences at the Arizona protests, they ended with a simple message: the Hispanic community is united and ready to vote.

"We will not let that happen here in Nevada. We are putting a call out to all these elected officials: if you do pursue this legislation, you will not be elected," said Flores.

One of the arguments in favor of deporting illegal immigrants is that they unfairly receive

taxpayer-funded welfare checks.

"No, they are not the recipients of welfare if you look at the records of the welfare department," said Romero.

But the records tell a different story. There are 5,179 non-citizens receive Nevada welfare funds under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. They receive about 16-percent of the entire TANF funds.

"What is the basis of them receiving that? I doubt seriously those figures. I would question them," said Romero. "The fact of the matter is are they undocumented immigrants. How can a non-documented immigrant receive welfare payments?"

The majority of the payments go to illegal immigrant parents with children born in the U.S.

"Let me just give you another number: How about $323 billion that the taxpayers are paying every year for illegal aliens, which also includes the schools, hospitals," said Mercer.

Denis counted that many illegal immigrants pay some form of taxes.

"Sales tax, property tax, those types of things we do here that everybody's paying. They do have a right to some kind of services," he said.

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