Arizona's new immigration law is akin to the practice of apartheid, one Democratic lawmaker suggested Wednesday.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), during a press conference with lawmakers from different minority caucuses in the House and Senate, condemned a tough, new Arizona law meant to crack down on illegal immigrants.

"It's akin to apartheid," Clarke said. "And that tramples on the civil rights and civil liberties of everyone."


The Arizona law compels authorities to confront individuals whom they suspect to be illegal immigrants and ask for evidence of their citizenship. A number of Democrats and some Republicans have condemned the law as likely leading to racial profiling. Apartheid is the practice of strict segregation of communities of color from whites, a practice most infamously used for years in South Africa.

"It is so hypocritical of a nation built by immigrants and for immigrants to turn the clock back now," Clarke added. "It is clear that this new law legalizes racial profiling in the state of Arizona."

The lawmakers on the Capitol said the new Arizona law made the case for comprehensive reform in Congress, though it's not clear how much progress such a bill might make this year.

Other lawmakers have also made unfavorable comparison of the new Arizona law.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) earlier this week said the law was like Nazi Germany. Republican leaders castigated him for that comparison.