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SB 1070 supporters brave heat at Capitol rally
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SB 1070 supporters brave heat at Capitol rally

Supporters of Arizona's strict new immigration law rallied at the State Capitol on Saturday.

Despite temperatures of 107 degrees, attendees voiced their support for SB 1070 in a demonstration at the Capitol in Phoenix.

The Arizona Republic estimated that 2,000 turned out.

Pennsylvania-based Voice of the People USA, the organizers of the rally, had predicted that 10-20,000 would attend the 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. "Phoenix Rising" demonstration.

Former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mesa's GOP state Sen. Russell Pearce spoke.

Tancredo, known for his rigid stance on immigration issues, said "said he could tell the value of the new anti-immigration law by the amount of hysteria from opponents," reported the Republic.

"Judging by that, this is the best damn bill that's been passed in the United States of America," Tancredo said. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because it got America to pay attention to this issue."

Arpaio called July 29 - the day SB 1070 is set to go in effect - the "magic day," reported the Republic.

"That's when I'm going to start enforcing that law," he said, as the crowd began to chant, "Joe, Joe, Joe."

Arpaio vowed not to turn over any of the illegal immigrants arrested to ICE. "I'm going to turn them over to me," he said, adding there always will be room in his jails.

Daniel Smeriglio, head of Voice of the People USA, encouraged the crowd:

"I know the heat is a deterrent," Smeriglio said. "We are here to say somebody did something and we stand with you. You represent the very best of America. That is why we are here."

Smeriglio said the rally was meant to call for enforcement of immigration laws and support for Arizona businesses, as well as get the attention of politicians.

"The elected officials work for us," he said. "We have to make them hear our voices. These mass demonstrations are a way to do so."

The National Weather Service forecast high temperatures of 107 degrees in Phoenix on Saturday.

An anti-1070 march and rally at the Capitol last week drew a crowd estimated at 20-50,000. Some attendees last week claimed that up to 100,000 showed up to voice their disapproval of the law.

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