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Cardinal Mahony Speaks Out Against Arizona's New Law During L.A.'s May Day Immigration Rally

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One of the most vocal and high-profile local protesters of Arizona's controversial new immigration law is Cardinal Roger Mahony, who braved the crowds yesterday to attend and speak out at the immigration reform march and rally in Downtown Los Angeles.

While lambasting Arizona's policymakers for SB 1070, and comparing California's eastern border-state "to Nazi Germany after the state passed a strict new law that allows police to check the legal status of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant," the leader of LA's Catholic church was also able to point out possible benefits to the law, according to the LA Times.

Mahony believes first that the Arizona law may speed up immigration law reform on the federal level, but secondly, that it "gives the Catholic church a welcome break from criticism of its handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests." Still, at the May Day event that drew thousands, the issue of racial profiling and the validity of Arizona's law remained a focal point for many, including the religious leader:

Mahony called the Arizona legislation unconstitutional. He also challenged Gov. Jan Brewer to release a set of clear criteria defining what constitutes "reasonable suspicion" that an individual might be undocumented. "They can't," he said. "Because you'd come up with ‘brown skin, black hair and listens to ranchera music.' "

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During yesterday's march and rally, Mahony moved through the crowd and interacted with supporters. "Sí se puede. Yes, we can," he paused to tell one person. Previously
- Photos: Today's May Day Immigration Rally in Downtown