By Jaime Farrant
Border Action Network Policy Director
Border Action Network continued this month its work against SB1070. Thanks to our member and partner efforts, the House version of this bill, HB2632, was stopped in its tracks. We requested over 1 month ago a meeting with Governor Brewer to state our concerns with the bill and ask her to veto it if it ever gets to her desk. After going to her office several times this past month, she has refused to see us. However, we have delivered over 20,000 postcards to her office asking her to veto this bill, as it is bad for Arizona and bad for our communities.
Meanwhile, in his efforts to see this costly, anti-immigrant and anti-business bill pass, Senator Russell Pearce filed an amendment to SB1070 this month. The most significant changes brought by the amendment are that the name of the crime of “Trespassing” proposed under SB1070 was changed to “Willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document”. The bill also tries, albeit unsuccessfully, to address the concerns argued by BAN and others that this bill will lead to illegal racial profiling practices and further mistrust of the police. The House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety (“MAPS”) held a hearing on the amendment on March 31. Many persons, including Jennifer Allen, spoke on behalf and against the bill. Jennifer highlighted that this bill will not do anything to improve our country’s broken immigration system, that it will be incredibly costly for our already stretched state budget due to the training programs that will have to be implemented and because of the flurry of lawsuits Arizona will face if this bill passes, and that it will force all persons in Arizona to carry an ID at all times or else face arrest. Representative Kyrsten Sinema expressed great concern with this bill and the ill consequences it could bring to the state. However, the Committee sadly voted 5-2 in approval of the bill. The new SB1070 will now go to the House’s Committee of the Whole, where it could be further amended and then to the House for a final vote. If it passes there, it will go to Governor Brewer’s desk for a final decision.
That being said, we are not giving up hope. We still believe that this bill might not pass, and will continue to work with our members and partners to ensure that this is the case. We have already seen results. Last month, we were assured that there was no way this bill could be stopped, as it was a “done deal”. However, our weekly mobilizations and rallies have slowed the bill’s momentum. Many persons, as they should, are now rising up and voicing their concerns about the bill. Given that the Legislative session is scheduled to end in April, we have only one more month to go in this fight. We need your help to make our voice louder. Join us at the Legislature this month. Talk to your friends and family about why SB1070 is bad for Arizona. Finally, please join us as we work with others to ensure that our government passes the comprehensive immigration reform that is so desperately needed, so that our families can be united and can aspire to the better life we all want for our children and ourselves.