Leaders from both sides of the immigration debate traded barbs over a controversial bill that would allow immigration judges to have the authority to determine if the illegal immigrant parents of children who, having been born in the United States, are American citizens should be ordered removed or deported from the U.S.
During a Father's Day vigil supporters said it is imperative for the United States to stop sending fathers back to their country.
Opponents called for an end to what they called the next big immigration battle which focuses on illegal immigrant's children, who are automatically granted U.S. citizens as are all babies born in America.
The policy, deeply rooted in the 14 Amendment, is what anti-illegal immigration advocates dismissively call the anchor baby movement.
The so called anchor baby concept, the idea that people seem to have is that somebody comes here in order to have a child so they can get legal status, said Amy Gottlieb, director of the immigrant rights program for the American Friends Service Committee.
But in fact the law only allows a child to file a petition to sponsor a parent when that child is 21 years old and even with that it's a very complicated process and sometimes it doesn't work out.
Anchor babies abuse the 14th amendment, said Joanna Marzullo, who runs New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement which lead a counter protest.
Gottlieb said the term fosters anger and hate to a community that we should be welcoming.
Marzullo, a Hispanic- American born to U.S. immigrants from Nicaragua who went through a process and were screened for many things including diseases argues illegal aliens aren't held to the same standard.
We know that [the bill] is doomed but we wanted to show that New Yorkers are against that bill, said David Russo who protested the vigil.
He called it another form of Amnesty.
The bill known as the Child Citizen Protection Act was introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano, who represents a largely Hispanic district, in January.