Immigration-reform advocates are beginning a weekend of rallies and prayer vigils calling on Congress to pass comprehensive changes during this session, and denouncing Arizona's new immigration-control law as an invitation to racial profiling.

Nationwide, 70 demonstrations are planned, as well as Sunday church services to mark what organizers are calling the Interfaith Immigrant Sabbath.

In this region on Saturday, protesters will gather at a park in Southwest Philadelphia, on a soccer field in Kennett Square, and at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral in Camden to urge elected officials to "respect the dignity of immigrant families."

Speakers ranging from local labor leaders to Camden Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph A. Galante plan to praise immigrant contributions to the workforce and to family life. Some could call for a boycott of Arizona's tourist industry to force a repeal of the law signed last week.

The law requires police to verify the immigration status of anyone they have a lawful reason to stop, whether on foot or in a vehicle. Proponents say it was crafted in response to the large number of illegal immigrants in Arizona and chronic lawlessness on its border with Mexico. Absent federal regulation, supporters say, Arizona had no choice but to act.

The law's critics warn that anyone with a dark complexion or foreign accent could be subject to harassment.

Both sides seem to agree the law was born of frustration.

"For the past two weeks, we have all been transfixed on Arizona as an example of what happens when the federal government fails to lead," said Ali Kronley, Pennsylvania director of Reform Immigration for America, the national pro-immigrant group that is sponsoring the weekend rallies.

The Southwest Philadelphia rally at Elmwood Park, 71st Street and Buist Avenue, begins at noon. The Kennett Square rally, on Anson Nixon Park soccer fields, starts at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a march into downtown Kennett Square. The prayer rally at St. Joseph's, 2907 Federal St., Camden, begins at 4 p.m.