As many of you may already know, anti-immigration forces have been moving hard and fast in the state of Arizona. Less than a week after state lawmakers passed the most far-reaching anti-immigrant legislation ever, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) launched massive raids in Phoenix and especially Tucson. In Tucson alone, over 800 officers set up checkpoints all around the predominantly Hispanic/Latin@ area of South Tucson. Eight-hundred officers. Fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, students, workers, tax-payers, neighbors…were pulled over at supposedly “random” checkpoints and taken into custody if they could not produce proper identification.
It is not a coincidence that these massive raids happen so soon after the passage of SB1070/HB2632. Senator Russell Pearce’s bill allows and encourages the state police to become immigration enforcement officials. Whereas before, police could only ask for documentation if the person were arrested for a crime, they now can ask any person any time there is “reasonable suspicion.”
If you are thinking that this does not affect you – that only those without documentation have anything to fear – just think of how often you leave the house without official ID… to go for a run, or to the gym, or to pick up a gallon of milk at the corner store. I personally am without my drivers license as I type this having forgotten it at home as I left the house this morning. Now imagine walking around, even for short errands, without your ID if your skin looks even remotely Hispanic/Latin@. Imagine your kids going to school without ID.
If you are still thinking that this does not affect you – because realistically you know that the law will be “enforced” via racial profiling and you’re lucky enough to “look American” – consider this: SB1070 also makes it illegal to transport or “harbor” an undocumented person if you know or disregard the person’s legal status. That means that you could be prosecuted for having an undocumented person in your car or in your house.
And if you’re thinking that this doesn’t affect you because you live no where near Arizona, take note that several other states are considering enacting similar bills.
Governor Brewer has not yet signed the legislation, but she is getting a lot of pressure from anti-immigrant groups to do so. We need to show her that there is even more reason not to. We need to remind her that the bill violates civil liberties and promotes racial profiling. We need to point out that it will cause even greater distrust of the police which will lead to greater crime. We need to let her know that where similar laws have been enacted at a county level, economies have suffered as the Latin@ community took their heretofore unappreciated spending elsewhere. We need to tell her that if SB1070 becomes law, it will give the state of Arizona a reputation for being unwelcoming, draconian… a state that tourists and convention goers would not want to visit. But it is not too late for her to turn it around – all it takes is one VETO.
PLEASE take action via the links listed below. It takes about 30 seconds to complete any of the below actions and you can do as many of them as you’re moved to do. And please call (800-253-0883) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the governor’s office directly to urge a veto. My friends in AZ tell me that they are counting every call, email, fax… even those from out of state, so please act. Your voice will be counted.