A decision from the Supreme Court on Arizona vs. United States is expected next week, where the issue in contention is whether the law usurps the federal government’s power to regulate immigration laws. While we wait for a decision, Puente Arizona is taking the lead by strengthening “Barrio Defense Committees” in Arizona, where members of the community connect, learn their rights, and make plans to defend themselves – important in a place like Arizona where anti-immigrant characters like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Governor Jan Brewer, and SB 1070′s nativist architects run the show.
Carlos Garcia, director of Puente, writes this inspirational piece for Politic365, “Arizona, Arpaio and SB1070 Spur Crusade for Immigrant Rights”:
…The status quo we face now and the results of even the best possible decision from the Supreme Court still represent a steady march toward anti-immigrant attrition that the state has constructed over years. First we faced efforts to restrict our ability to function in society: drivers’ license bans, denial of social services, and English only rules. Then they built ways to humiliate and dehumanize us through Sheriff Arpaio’s outdoor jails and Florence’s expanding penal colonies.
From 2007 to 2010, even before SB1070 was introduced, our community faced checkpoints, bore witness to women forced to give birth in shackles, and traveled to work and school on a daily basis already wondering if we would reunite with our families and loved ones at the end of each day. In 2010, Arizona sought to erase us from history with a ban on ethnic studies and remove us altogether through SB1070.
In what amounts to a state of war by attrition on our community, it could get worse this summer as we expect that the injunction will be lifted on some of the remaining portions of SB1070. Further criminalization and tools demanding all law enforcement to investigate and deport in massive numbers is set to become law.
But that will not be our future. We are on the move, and we’re not going anywhere. We’re not running away as the authors of SB1070 had hoped, we’re moving our communities forward, and we will not let the last violent gasps of a dying generation’s prejudice stop us…