(Reuters) - Arizona landscaper Jose Acosta says he has been pulled over by police in the Mexico border state three or four times for tailgating or driving with a chipped windshield. But really, he believes, it is because of the color of his skin.
"They see me brown. They'll pull me over and ask me for documents. They'll make up a lie about why," said Acosta, 40, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Mexican origin.
He is now among a classroom full of Hispanic U.S. citizens, legal residents and illegal immigrants taking part in a six-week "defense" workshop in central Phoenix to study up on his legal rights.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares on Wednesday to hear Arizona defend its crackdown on illegal immigrants, Hispanics in the state are responding to the 2-year-old measure with a surge of activism ranging from civil rights classes to a revved up effort to get out the vote this election year.