For Immediate Release: April 23, 2010
Hilary Tone, Border Action Network
Outpour of Opposition Does Not Deter Nation's Worst Attack on Civil Rights from Being Signed by Arizona Governor
Phoenix, AZ - Community leaders across Arizona condemn Governor Jan Brewer's signing of SB1070, the farthest-reaching anti-immigrant bill ever passed by a state. The law became a lightning rod nationally due to its mandate to law enforcement to use racial profiling and to give the state a backdoor entry to enforcing federal immigration law.
"Even though we're not surprised by the Governor's action, we are still outraged," said Carlos Garcia, of PUENTE, a Phoenix-based community group. "Governor Brewer has prioritized gathering votes for her election over her responsibilities as governor to uphold the basic civil rights, our constitution, and the well-being of our state."
Somos America, Border Action Network, PUENTE and other community, faith, business and law enforcement groups as well as elected officials across the state have ardently opposed this bill. On-the-ground organizing in Arizona resulted unprecedented outpour of opposition including more than 80,000 petition and postcard signatures and thousands of phone calls and emails flooding the Governor's office every single day.
The law's sponsor, Senator Russell Pearce claims that ten other states are interested in similar legislation. However, the law continues to ignite national outcry. This morning, President Obama spoke against the bill, calling it a "misguided effort." This Sunday, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez will be in Arizona to condemn the law at a rally and local church. Congressman Grijalva is hosting a rally in his district on Saturday and protests have sprouted up in New York, Colorado, Washington, New Jersey and other states across the country.
"Governor Brewer's signature on SB1070 will stain her political career and the people won't forget it," says Jennifer Allen, Director of Border Action Network, a statewide community organization. "This is an unjust and unconstitutional law that people won't stand for. The bill may have been signed into law today, but the struggle will only gain momentum after today."
The law will come into effect early August or 90 days after the adjournment of the state legislature. Somos America, PUENTE, Border Action Network and other groups around the state are launching an intensive community education campaign to respond to the fear and resentment that is emerging. Legal challenges are calling for an immediate injunction against implementation of the law.
"The signing of this immoral, illegal and unjust bill puts Arizona on the wrong side of history," said Lydia Guzman, President of Somos America. "But the groundswell of opposition to SB1070 demonstrates that we can and will change the course of history. From the voting polls, to the airwaves, to the courtroom, we will not rest until this law is defeated."
With President Obama's condemnation of the law today, groups are also putting pressure on the Administration to block implementation of the law. "This law depends on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's cooperation. We need to see today's comments turned into commitment that Washington will not play Arizona's game," says Garcia.
Throughout the weekend, events and rallies are expected to turnout out thousands of people across the state.
### Established in 1999, the Border Action Network is a human rights organization that works with immigrant and border communities in Arizona to ensure our rights are protected and dignity upheld. For more information, visit www.borderaction.org.