April 27, 2010 — -- An Arizona sheriff said today that he has "no intention of complying" with the state's controversial new immigration law, calling it "abominable" and a "national embarrassment."
The defiance by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was perhaps the sharpest rebuke to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for signing into law last Friday a bill that empowers police in the state to stop people they suspect may be illegal immigrants and demand identification.
Critics rallied around the country today, claiming the law fosters racism and was a bad policing measure.
Dupnik told ABCNews.com that he'd like Brewer to know that "what she and the legislature has accomplished is morally wrong and a national embarrassment."
"We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't," said Dupnik. "If we go out and look for illegal immigrants, they accuse us of racial profiling and we can get sued. And if some citizen doesn't think we're enforcing the state law, they can sue us too."
"If the chief of police or sheriff takes a squad out and says to them that their only duty is to go out and round up illegal immigrants, they are going to racially profile," said Dupnik. "But we have never done that and we will never do that."
Referring to the law, the sheriff said he "has no intention of complying with it."
Others voiced their anger at the law during rallies in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. In Chicago, authorities arrested 25 protestors for disorderly conduct after they sat in a street blocking a van carrying deportees from a federal detention center.
"The bill is extremely anti-immigrant, it legalizes racial profiling and criminalizes immigrants and does nothing to address the broken immigration system that has existed in this country for years," said Frances Liu, a daughter of two Chinese immigrants who now works at the New York Immigration Coalition.
About 40 people attended the lunch time rally in Manhattan's Federal Plaza, where most mornings immigrants form a line that stretches out of the buidling and across the plaza waiting their turn to have visa requests taken care of.
At her first public appearance since signing the law, Brewer said today she was not concerned about the impact it could have on the state's economy.
Most Arizona residents agree with her. According to a Rasmussen poll, some 70 percent of state residents say they support the new law.
Brewer said that when she meets with companies interested in moving to Arizona they are "concerned and want to know we have a safe and secure environment."
While Brewer spoke inside a Tuscon hotel, hundreds of protestors rallied outside.