Migrant Communities Will Fight SB1070

The Supreme Court decision gave us no reason to celebrate in Arizona. The ruling allowed the most dangerous piece of SB1070, the racial profiling portion to move forward, and as a result, life is worse for our communities in Arizona than it was previously. But it won’t stay that way for long.

This ruling was not our communities’ day in court. That day is yet to come. Migrant communities are on the winning side of history and will see SB1070 and the federal deportation programs it mirrors struck down in their entirety.

The reaction of migrant communities and our allies will be to organize, fight back, and come out of the shadows, to peacefully defend our communities in the boldest ways. President Obama and Secretary Napolitano have the authority and the obligation to follow our example and take equally swift action.  A justice department hotline is not enough. Ending a small part of the 287(g) program in the state has little effect. We will not be fooled and affirm that nothing short of cutting off Arizona’s access to ICE completely will prevent the humanitarian crisis we already live in from jumping to new levels.

But the dilemma of how to respond to SB1070 is for more than just the president. As migrants lose fear and are willing to face down the checkpoints meant to drive us out, what risk are others who believe in justice willing to take? There is no such thing as a bystander in a county where Arpaio gets one more tool to terrorize our communities.

The biggest irony of the “immigration debate” is that this land called Arizona used to be Mexico and before that was and is native land. SB1070 is morally wrong for many reasons, but the bill becomes illogical when we notice that people attempting to expel and call ‘illegal’ those of us whose ancestors predate them on this land.

Since SB1070 was introduced the name “Arizona” has symbolized the “capitol of prejudice.” The Supreme Court ruling has now placed that same embarrassment on the United States as a whole. However, a state now known today for its bigotry will be known as the birthplace of a modern thriving human rights movement tomorrow. And it will have reasonably suspicious people to thank. When we receive this state’s gratitude instead of its hostility, that’s when we’ll celebrate.­

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1 Comment


I'm a legal immigrant and live in AZ and don't have a problem with SB1070. When I acquired my green card, I was told I should carry it with me all times... I do. When I'm asked for ID, proof of residency and or my nationality, I'm proud to offer it.

It appears that the only ones who oppose SB1070 are those Mexicans in the US illegally, harbor illegal Mexicans, or stand to gain personally by allowing them amnesty. What I don't understand is, why Mexicans feel they have a 'right' to be here. Just because AZ belonged to Mexico several centuries ago, it does give Mexicans a legal right - it does not belong to Mexico now. Mexicans stole Mexico from the Native Americans before they reached AZ, but you don't hear the Native Americans claiming rights to Mexico, and they would not be given any special privileges even if they wanted to - rightly so. I've lived in Mexico for a couple of years also and know what the immigration laws are.

The point is, if you're not a natural born US citizen and in the US without a Visa, whether temporary or permanent, you are illegal and subject to detention and deportation. Furthermore, the US Constitution protects legal US citizens and residents. It does not afford any rights to those in the US illegally. That means, ANY rights you might have had are left at the border when you cross without documentation, i.e. illegally.

You want to be treated with respect and dignity, show you have some honor and you don't just want to be hear for the handouts. Go back to Mexico, apply at the US Embassy there and come back when you have your Visa.

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