The Arizona legislature is hoping that the third time is the charm when it comes to criminalizing day laborers and their employers. A $3 million deficit did not distract House lawmakers on Tuesday, May 19th from approving a bill, HB2355, which would charge people looking for work and workers on the streets with a misdemeanor “criminal trespass”.
If the bill sounds awkwardly written and dubiously constitutional, it is. In 2007, a similar bill passed the state House and Senate only to be vetoed by then-Governor Napolitano. In 2008, the bill passed the House but died in the Senate.
Day laborers tend to be undocumented and documented Latino immigrants, alike. In fact, in Tucson, Spanish-speaking, Latino U.S. citizens have been among the men that gather at Southside Presbyterian Church in the early mornings hoping to get picked up for a piece-work. For better or worse, day laborers are an integral part of the changing work force.
Over 50 people from nine different Arizona organizations gathered at the state house in Phoenix on Tuesday, May 12 to Call on Legislators to Work “For a Better Arizona.”
Thank you again to all who loaded bus, van, and car, traveling from Douglas, Bisbee, Green Valley, Nogales, Tucson and Phoenix to participate in the first Day of Action at the Arizona State legislature! With over 50 people representing nine organizations from across Arizona—we had long-time lobbyists congratulating us on the size and turnout of the group! Needless to say, the Day of Action made a huge impact. Participants met with state lawmakers from the Senate and the House, both Democrat and Republican, urging them to lead the state of Arizona out of the current economic crisis and negativity by promoting a pro-active platform for economic health, community security, immigrant integration and rights protections. Check out our multimedia coverage of the event to hear from some the participants, view footage of the press conference, and hear first hand from Representative Daniel Patterson (D, D-29 Tucson) the importance of talking to your State legislators.