Court Guts SB 1070 – Keep Up The Pressure

Two very important things happened just hours before SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, went into effect on July 29th.

Judge Susan Bolton, a Federal District Court judge in Phoenix, Arizona, issued a temporary injunction which prevented the worst parts of the law from going into effect.  While Bolton’s decree was certainly a victory for human rights and basic decency, it is a temporary order and will certainly be appealed.

More important in the long run were the protests targeting SB 1070 which continued as planned.  Shortly after Judge Bolton’s ruling, a group calling itself “Stop the Hate” scaled a 30-story construction crane in Phoenix, AZ and unfurled a banner launching the July 29th day of protest against SB 1070.  Protest actions are centered in Arizona, but rallies and actions are happening all around the country.  We hope you’ll help keep up the pressure to abandon hate legislation like SB 1070.  Here in San Francisco, I’ll be heading to Mission and 24th for a 5:30pm rally organized by the May First Coalition.  The protests won’t stop on July 29th either.  We need to keep up the pressure until the federal government adopts comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

SB 1070, as horrible as it is, is only a small expression of our nation’s dysfunction around the issue of immigration.  The Obama administration is shipping 1,200 troops to the border in a continuing policy of border militarization.  We’ve sealed off much of the border and are militarizing the rest in an attempt to force the stream of immigrants to cross the deadly Sonora desert.  The apparent hope is to discourage immigration by forcing all immigrants to run a gauntlet of armed soldiers, border patrol, and vigilantes while surviving journeys lasting several days in temperatures well over 100 degrees.

It is impossible to carry enough water to make it across the desert, so everyone making the trip has to pray to find a source of water along the route.  Many do not.  Since October 1 of last year, 153 people have died on the Arizona-Mexico border.

SB 1070 and the copycat measures that are springing up around the country are misguided attempts to blame the victim for the crime.  The root causes of immigration are economic, largely brought on by the integration of the Mexican and Central American economies with much stronger economies in the North.  Those free trade agreements have benefited multinational corporations while devastating economies South of the US border.

The Obama administration has been unwilling to make immigration reform a priority and instead has reverted to increased detentions and removals.  Unfortunately, US policy on immigration is less humane under Obama than it was during the Bush administration.  That is unacceptable.

Please do what you can to oppose hate legislation like SB 1070 and insist on real immigration reform that respects the rights of undocumented immigrants.