The House and Senate of Arizona have passed a bill which would be the toughest anti-immigrant legislation in the nation, with at least ten states planning to introduce copy cat legislation. All that remains to be done is for Gov. Jan Brewer to sign the bill into law. Among many dangerous precedence, the law would require local and state police to racially profile people and investigate anyone they suspect of being undocumented–which could be any Latino or Indigenous person, especially if they are speaking Spanish. The law would also grant citizens the right to sue law enforcement bodies for not enforcing immigration laws aggressively enough. Because people can be randomly stopped and asked for papers proving their citizenship, many are drawing a comparison with the hated Passbook Laws under Apartheid South Africa.
Border Rights activists are urging people both from Arizona and elsewhere to contact Gov. Brewer and demand she veto the bill. This is not just an Arizona issue. Arizona has become the trailblazer for anti-immigrant legislation and mobilization for the rest of the country. The fight against the Jim Crow system of racism in states like Alabama and Mississippi in the 1960s involved a national struggle, with participants from all over the nation saying: Enough! We need the same kind of movement now to stop the advance of racism in Arizona and beyond.
The passage of SB1070 by the Arizona House of Representatives was followed two days later by the largest raid in the history of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with ICE agents undertaking a military-style deployment in Arizona cities. The operation was bi-national, starting in Nogales, Arizona and involving the cooperation of local, state and Mexican authorities and police agencies. Read an article by the AFGJ’s James Jordan talking about both the raids and SB1070.