More than 100 people rallied at Independence Mall at lunchtime today to protest Arizona's new immigration law and to demand the Obama administration act on immigration reform.
Wearing T-shirts saying "European descendants for immigration rights," the protesters carried signs that said, "Prez Obama, nullify SB1070" and "Stop ripping families apart." SB1070 is the bill number for the Arizona law.
The group then marched around the block where the Liberty Bell Center is located to the federal building at 6th and Market Streets before dispersing.
One of the speakers at the rally on the lawn next to the Independence Visitors Center was Fabricio Rodriguez, a security guard union member.
He told the crowd he had recently returned from Arizona where he took part in protests against the new law, including ones outside the Arizona Diamondbacks' stadium.
Rodriguez said brown-skinned people there are afraid of being stopped and asked for their papers and that some are staying home to avoid being hassled.
Rodriquez said the sense of intimidation is intensified by the presence of white supremacist groups on the edge of anti-SB1070 protests.
Another speaker, Carmen Marcet, an immigrant from Peru, recalled a 2006 Congressional Bill targeting illegal immigrants and how protests helped to stop it.
"Now it's happened again and the people don't remember the story," she said.