|Rights groups push locals to stay vigilant on 1070|
|Border Action In The News|
|Monday, September 20 2010 14:45|
By Jonathan Clark
Published Friday, September 17, 2010 10:42 AM CDT
Key parts of the state’s new immigration law have been blocked by a federal judge, but that’s not slowing efforts by civil rights advocates to organize Arizona’s Latino communities against the measure.
Speaking at an information session Tuesday evening at Mexicayotl Academy in Nogales, Julissa Villa of the Border Action Network told attendees that her group continues to promote protests, voter drives and postcard-mailing campaigns against the law, known as SB 1070.
“It’s a good way to say to the people, ‘Hey, wake up, don’t go to sleep,’ because this has been blocked, but it hasn’t been thrown out,” she said.
Jaime Farrant, Border Action Network’s policy director, began the meeting by asking the audience of approximately 20 people how many had read the law. Four raised their hands.
“I’ve given maybe 10 or 12 of these forums, and four is the highest number of people to raise their hands that I’ve seen,” he said, and urged people to visit BAN’s website www.ban1070.com, where they can read the law in either English or Spanish.
Farrant explained which parts of the law had been temporarily blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton – such as a requirement that police check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other state laws – as well as those that were allowed to go into effect, which include a provision that makes it illegal to block traffic while picking up day laborers.
Farrant urged anyone who had been subject to the application of one of the blocked provisions to call a BAN hotline – 1-877-908-1070 – which has been set up to document SB 1070-related abuses.
Opponents like BAN say the law encourages racial profiling, conflicts with federal immigration law, and drives a wedge between police and minority communities. Proponents say it explicitly prohibits racial profiling and allows the state to confront a problem that the federal government has failed to adequately address.
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law, called Bolton’s July ruling a “temporary bump in the road,” and appealed the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The appellate court is expected to issue a ruling in November.
Women and kids
One audience member at Tuesday’s event asked how the law might affect schoolchildren from Arizona who travel back and forth across the border to visit relatives in Mexico.
“The law SB 1070 doesn’t mention the word ‘school’ anywhere,” Farrant said, though he noted that the Ajo Unified School District, under pressure from the state, this year began requiring children to prove they live in the district and not in Mexico before boarding a school bus.
Farrant and Villa said state legislators like Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of SB 1070, are planning more aggressive legislation that would target women and children in an effort to drive out illegal immigrants. Such efforts will hurt both legal and undocumented people, they said, and so it is imperative for Latinos to vote in November to keep hard-liners out of office.
Gustavo Lozano of the Nogales-based organization Fronteras Desiguales told the audience that his group has signed up more than 60 volunteers to help with local voting drives, and is looking for more.
Asked after the meeting about public opinion polls that show that a majority of Americans – and an overwhelming majority of Arizonans – support SB 1070, Farrant said he is skeptical of the methodology behind such surveys. But even if the polls reflect reality, he said, he’s not discouraged.
“For us it’s a question of human rights and dignity, and what I’ve learned from history is that human rights are always defended by a group of concerned individuals who decided to take challenges that others view as impossible,” he said.
Tuesday’s forum, the third of its kind to be held in Nogales, was sponsored by Border Action Network, the Consulate of Mexico in Nogales and the Colectivo Fronterizo Binacional.
Click here to read this story on the Nogales International website
|Last Updated on Monday, November 01 2010 15:35|