Protesters at Wednesday night's debate for candidates in the Democratic primary for a seat in the 13th Congressional District denounced both Rep. Charles Rangel and state Senator Adriano Espaillat on their stance on the Dominican Republic's anti-immigration laws.
A handful of supporters stood outside the debate, calling the Dominican position similar to apartheid.
Last September, the Dominican Republic denied citizenship to more that 200,000 children born to undocumented Haitian migrants.
After a global outcry, the country reinstated the rights to only 25,000.
Both Rangel and Espaillat visited the Dominican Republic and praised the new law.
The protesters said it's unacceptable to support any law that strips citizens of their rights.
"We understand the fact that the government tried to control the immigration, but doing it on the sense of heritage, of race, to us is very unjust," said one protester. "It reminds us of the days of apartheid, and this is why we're denouncing both candidates because they went there and supported the government."
"So we're calling out this hypocrisy, and we wonder what it means in terms of their overall view of immigration or the role and rights of immigrants in the United States," said another protester.
The topic also came up in the debate. Espaillat previously claimed he helped broker the amendment in the law, a view that Rangel mocked.