For Immediate Release: May 12, 2009
Contact: Caroline Isaacs, (520) 256-4146 cell;
Ana Maria Rivas (520) 990-0123;
Statewide Groups Call on Legislators to Work “For a Better Arizona”
Public’s poor rating of legislature is indication of need for a new vision for Arizona
Tuesday, May 12, 2009. Legislative visits from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Press Conference at 12:00-12:45pm at House Lawn, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix
Phoenix, AZ –Over the years, Arizona has carved out a niche in the country as having the most anti-immigrant legislature. Legislators here spared no one. Business was hit with the nation’s harshest employer sanctions law. Bills to force them to become immigration agents targeted local governments and law enforcement. Even hospitals were to over-ride the fourteenth by not giving birth certificates to children born to an undocumented immigrant parent.
But these actions may be catching up with state officials. A poll conducted last month by Phoenix's Behavior Research Center found that more than one-third of respondents rated the legislature’s performance as “poor”.
Groups from across the state are gathering at the capitol today to urge legislators to show real leadership. “We are urging our officials to lead the state out of this crisis and negativity by promoting long-term economic health, community security, protection of rights, and integration of newcomers to the state,” explains Maurice Goldman, chairman of the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
More than seventy representatives of more than a dozen groups are traveling to the legislature today where they will meet with or present information to all ninety legislators.
“We are telling our legislators that we need common-sense, realistic policies that build our communities up, instead of tearing them down,” says Caroline Isaacs with the American Friends Service Committee, a co-sponsor of the event. “We need a vision of the future that includes all the people of Arizona, instead of pitting one group against another.”
The groups’ vision includes providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students, creating communities where people feel safe and secure without fear of law enforcement, and supporting programs that encourage businesses and welcome newcomers to the state.
“Our legislature is grappling with an economic and a public relations crisis. We need state leadership that can make Arizona innovative, welcoming, and a forward-thinking state. Immigration is important for the state of Arizona, so we need to see immigrant families as part of the solution to moving the state forward,” explains Jennifer Allen, Director of Border Action Network.
Sponsored by community groups, faith and business leaders, legal and social service providers, and others, including Border Action Network, American Friends Service Committee, AZ Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Good Shepherd UCC of Sahuarita, Samaritans –Green Valley, Somos America, Citizens for Border Solutions, Arizona Advocacy Network, No More Deaths-Phoenix.