McALLEN — A new Arizona law that authorizes police officers to stop people and demand proof of citizenship takes us back to some of the most horrific times in the history of this nation and the world, according to U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-McAllen,

Hinojosa said he has joined other border congressmen to denounce "an outrageous bill as a violation of the civil rights of the residents and visitors of Arizona". This law clearly violates our basic notions of democracy and flies in the face of decency and fairness, he said.

"As the Representative for the 15th congressional district in Texas, I am dismayed and saddened by the passage and adoption of SB 1070 in the state of Arizona," Hinojosa said in a statement.

Hinojosa was the keynote speaker as a special rally held at Archer Park in McAllen. The event gathered hundreds of attendees who denounced the Arizona immigration law, and pledged their support of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

"How could we possibly call our country the land of the free when people who are conducting their day to day lives, whether they are going to work or going to the grocery store can be stopped at random and be ordered to show proof of their U.S. citizenship," Hinojosa asked, regarding Arizona's law. "I come from a family of immigrants. This country was built by immigrants and it will continue to be built upon by immigrants."

Hinojosa was joined by McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez, and Hidalgo County Judge Rene Ramirez at the event organized by La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an organization advocating strongly for immigrant rights based in San Juan.

Organizations in attendance included Proyecto Azteca, the South Texas Civil Rights Project, the Student Farmworkers Alliance, Project ARISE, People for Peace & Justice, the Equal Voice Network, and the Southwest Workers' Union.

All have weighed in strong opposition to the Arizona law, SB 1070, signed into law a week last Friday by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican after its passage by a majority Republican state legislature.

Among the more controversial provisions in the law is a provision requiring law enforcement personnel to routinely ask for immigration documents from persons who might appear to be illegally in the United States.

"We look to Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that civil rights protections are enforced, particularly for Latinos and other minorities who live and travel to the state of Arizona," Hinojosa said. "Above all, Latinos and other immigrants in my state and across the country are urging President Obama to act swiftly and work with Congress to fulfill his promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Now is the time; we can no longer afford to wait."