Tens of Thousands March in Protest of Arizona’s SB 1070

arizona immigrant rights rallyTens of thousands of protesters from across the country gathered in Phoenix over the weekend to protest Arizona’s SB 1070. According to some reports, as many as 20,000 protesters carried flags, banners and signs reading “Do I Look Illegal?” and “Where’s the change? Mr. President, how can we trust you for re-election?” across a five mile stretch to the state Capitol to demand that the “federal government refuse to cooperate with Arizona authorities trying to enforce the law.” Meanwhile, supporters of the law gathered in a nearby stadium to defend their position and deny claims of profiling and racism. Both sides, ironically enough, acknowledged the need for a federal overhaul of our immigration system—albeit with different messages.

In 94-degree heat, a diverse crowd of protesters marched to the state Capitol. While each protester had his/her own reason for marching, many agree that SB 1070, a law that makes it a state crime to crime to be without proper immigration documentation and requires police to determine the status of people they stop and suspect of being illegally, is un-American. The law is scheduled to take effect July 29 barring legal challenges.

Here’s what some protesters had to say:

“I don’t think that this law is American. I think it’s discriminatory,” said marcher Chelsea Halstead, a college student from Flagstaff, AZ. “I’m offended by it because this is a nation founded by immigrants.”

“This is not what Arizona is about, hate,” said Armando Diaz, an American citizen. “But that is what this law is about.”

“It’s my civic duty,” said Dennis DuVall, a retired bus driver. “It shows commitment. People are willing to come out and walk five miles in 100 degrees. It’s important.”

One university professor, Luis Jimenez, echoed what Arizona law enforcement recently explained to U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder—that enforcing SB 1070 will divert precious law enforcement resources away from fighting crimes and break down the trust that police have spent years cultivating with local communities:

“You’re saying to the cop: ‘Go pick up that day laborer. Don’t worry about that guy committing crimes,’” said Jimenez, a naturalized citizen from Mexico who grew up in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, a crowd of supporters—whom the New York Times characterized as “mostly white and middle aged or older”—carried signs reading “Illegals out of the U.S.A.” while “Hit the Road, Jack” played in the background. The crowd gathered at a nearby stadium to defend the law.

“We are not racists,” said Anne Hyde of Chandler, AZ. “This law is about respecting the laws of the nation and the economic impact of illegal immigration, which is enormous. My state is broke and they cost us with spending on schools, hospitals and other services.”

“The operative word in all this is ‘illegal,’” said Christine Griswold of Palm Desert, CA. “It has nothing to do with their race. It’s that they’re coming to the country illegally.”

seth hoyAlthough those on both sides of Arizona’s law had different messages, it’s important to note the overlap—both sides support federal action on immigration. According to a recent poll, the majority of voters—for and against Arizona’s controversial law—want to see a national solution to our immigration problems rather than more state-by-state immigration legislation. The rallies in Arizona on Saturday are yet another reason why the federal government needs to take action on immigration reform.

Seth Hoy

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.

Photo by the SEIU.

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Comments

  1. jbakerjonathan says

    I agree that there is a problem for America in keeping a status quo with illegal immigration – something must be done. Why? Among other things, illegal immigrants don’t pay the taxes which legal immigrants and American citizens pay. The lack of that extra money causes our hospitals, schools, police departments – all of those entities that support our society – to be either overburdened or to be increased in size with additional tax money from the taxpayers. Because our borders are porous and our tracking systems for limited visas are all but non-existent, our society has a group of people (illegal immigrants) not paying their fair share.

    Businesses delight in having a labor pool of illegals. They can be taken advantage of and they can’t complain. This translates into higher profits for the unscrupulous business corporation, be it large or small. The illegal workers on the farms in the fields, in the lawncare industry, the service industries, the meatpacking industry, all work for lower wages and for longer hours, many times under unsafe conditions, doing jobs that aren’t applied for by American citizens in many cases. Not withstand that, illegal immigrants find America to offer a better life for them and they keep coming to partake in that better life. And, as long as politicians in foreign countries can maintain their status quo by having the illegal emigration safety valve and not having to tackle the hard task of improving the standard of living of their constituents, those politicians will do nothing.

    It’s all about the money, folks.

    Ok, here is what I think would help to resolve the illegal immigration problem, although it would not be welcomed by those who profit from the status quo: create a Guest Worker Program. Workers would be given a limited visa (two, three or four years). Those workers would pay all the taxes, pay into a group health plan and would not be allowed to have their family with them. The idea is to have them pay their way without being a burden to our society and to give them an incentive to return to their own country. A turnover of workers would result, allowing other foreigners the legal opportunity to work here, thereby reducing illegal immigration to a very small number. The wage paid to the guest workers must be at least the minimum wage so American citizens could also vie for those jobs, if they so desired. Over a long period of time, the cost of the creation and maintenance of the guest worker program can be paid in part through a tax paid by the guest workers.

    Although somewhat unfair, initially the Guest Worker Program would be filled with all the current illegal immigrant workers now in the US. Families residing with them would remain here until the visa time limit was reached. Then all would return to their country of origin.

    Additionally, we must increase our border security north and south, together with the incarceration for five years of captured illegals. Heavy fines must be levied on businesses caught hiring illegals to prevent their abetting illegal immigration.

    The citizens of this country want immigration reform. The politicians in Washington, DC are finding it difficult to turn their backs on the monetary contributions made by big business. We have to raise a big enough stink to make them realize the folly of not resolving this issue. We have to make them understand that keeping their jobs depends on their resolving the illegal immigration problem now.

  2. says

    Hey friends, I have watched for news about sweeps in New York City, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Seattle or Fargo looking for Canadians, Irish, Brits and so forth. In the LA Westside and Santa Monica area there were, I haven’t been out that way for a while honestly, a lot of young Irish illegals who got into the US by passenger jet as tourists and then just decided not to go home. Have a I heard of a sweep there? No and they are working taking away jobs from Americans and all the rest. Their accents are evident but they do speak some sort of English. I am still wondering why the other responders aren’t communicating in indigenous languages since speaking English seems to be such a big deal.

    • MyLeftMind says

      Dusty, your silly response is typical of liberals wearing blind folders. Instead of finding solutions to the problem, you want our government to do nothing. If you want to track down illegal aliens from Canada, have at it. If they’re in Arizona, this law will ensure they’re deported. But to suggest that we shouldn’t try to remove Mexican illegal aliens just because they’re Mexican is worse than naïve, it’s stupid.

      More African Americans go to jail for crimes than Asian Americans do, because of bias in the police and court systems. Does that mean that we should only prosecute criminal suspects if they’re non-black? No, we try to fix the problems of bias, and we still prosecute each and every criminal suspect. Your Caucasian illegal alien scenario is a strawman.

  3. SK says

    “I don’t think that this law is American. I think it’s discriminatory,…”

    Bull. The AZ law makes no reference to any ethnic group except to say racial profiling is illegal. White people who are illegal immigrants from Canada are held to the same standard. What’s wrong with telling immigrants to follow the law and come here legally, or stop taking resources from legal residents? What IS truly discriminatory are current federal policies that prioritize Mexican citizens over ALL other potential immigrants. We already allow more Mexicans to immigrate here legally compared to immigrants from any other country. Even so, by limiting illegal immigration, we actually are supporting and helping our legal immigrants.

    Spanish is the only language that has been forced on English speaking citizens by immigrants (in the form of increased costs for bilingual communication for most government functions, extra teachers to teach kids in Spanish instead of English, and the many other ways we have to pay double for both languages). French Canadian immigrants don’t force us to communicate or teach in French, nor do/did the Irish, Polish or Italians. In fact, no other immigrant group has refused to learn English, in spite of the millions who have come to these shores speaking different languages. Given the amount of resentment this refusal to assimilate is causing, why would anyone want to give voting rights to millions more Hispanic illegal aliens? So they can utilize their power as a voting block to make our government accommodate them with two official languages?

    “You’re saying to the cop: ‘Go pick up that day laborer. Don’t worry about that guy committing crimes,’…”

    No, the law is saying to AZ cops: “When you arrest someone for a crime and it’s obvious that they are not here legally, verify that with the federal government so we can send them out of the country before they cost us even more money.” Anyway, it’s not the day laborers that have border states concerned, it’s the criminals. And if you think illegal immigrants all work on farms, you’re being naïve. Union-paying construction workers and other skilled laborers that should be making $30 an hour have to compete with illegal aliens willing to work under the table for $5/hr. There are also a lot of small businesses that can’t compete against people who use undocumented workers for everything from business cleaning services to landscaping. These honest businesses simply can’t afford to hire people legally when the law breaking companies get away with not having to pay FICA, Workers Compensation, healthcare and legal wages for their employees. And of course, the tax-paying public bears the cost when these undocumented workers are injured and they’re not covered by Workers Comp or other programs.

    The author of this article, Seth Hoy works for an organization that promotes giving amnesty to illegal aliens. Our government has already done that three times in the past half century. All it did was inspire others to break the law. Amnesty doesn’t work, nor does ignoring the problem of illegal aliens. Border states have to pay for social services, medical care, food stamps, housing and even college for children of illegal aliens. Even if their parents never paid into the system, these kids are eligible for publically supported programs, including Social Security disability! But Seth Hoy and the Immigration Policy Center want the federal government refuse to cooperate with Arizona authorities trying to enforce the law. Wow, what a solution! We’re in the mess because the federal government has already refused to deal with the illegal immigration problem, and their brilliant response is for the feds to refuse to cooperate with the state trying to solve the problems caused by federal inaction. Go lefties!

    I know that a lot of progressives are unhappy with this law, but what is a state supposed to do when the federal government refuses to enforce its own laws? Liberals say it’s not OK for Arizona to define the act of an alien’s standing on its soil without papers as a criminal. But United States law already defines the act of an alien’s standing on its soil without papers as a criminal act. What’s wrong with a state stepping in to enforce its own identical copy of a federal law that the feds refuse to enforce? Especially since one of the reasons they don’t enforce it is because rich agribusinesses want to take advantage of illegal immigrants, and those giant corporations have bought off our government. Aren’t we better off if we prevent the abuse of immigrants by ensuring their legal status doesn’t prevent them from reporting abusive employers?

    I wish good intentioned liberals would spend some time thinking these issues through instead of having such knee-jerk responses to complex problems. This isn’t about race or racism, and it’s not about picking on any group of people. It’s about doing what’s right by our country and the people who live here legally, including our immigrant population. The real question we need to ask ourselves is why are we so obsessed with helping the people who come here illegally over those who are waiting their turn? If you care about poor Mexicans, then let’s provide support to the Mexicans that are still in Mexico suffering under their government’s policies that perpetuate abject poverty. Why are those starving children less important than the kids whose parents snuck across the border to have their babies here?

    C’mon progressives, use your brains. Pretending this is all about racism is as stupid as Obama supporters crying racism every time someone criticizes Obama’s corporatist policies. Of course racism exists, and of course cops can be abusive, but this law specifically prohibits racial profiling. Those who are detained illegally will win huge sums in court for their troubles. These issues are complex, and we’re not going to find good solutions while you’re jumping on the bandwagon of false cries of racism. If you can think of other ways to prevent racial profiling, go ahead, make some suggestions. But the Immigration Policy Center’s great idea of not enforcing the law is NOT reasonable solution, nor should progressives be pushing for such silly responses.

    Let’s stop being so naïve about how we’re used by those who want to increase their political and economic power. It’s in our best interests and it’s even better for our immigrant populations if we enforce immigration policy, not just ignore the lawbreakers until the right wing can use it as a wedge issue.

    • says

      SK — It is obvious that you are an intelligent and thoughtful person and because of that it is hard for me to believe that you believe your own words. You claim that this law would apply to Canadiens as well as Mexicans etc. How often have you read of Canadiens being deported and what is the chance of them being asked for papers showing citizenship based on how they look to the officer if they are jay walking in downtown Phoenix? Or a British citizen for that matter? Are you unaware of the policies that your backward sheriff has been practicing? You chide others but you don’t even look at the facts even though you have given such thought to this.

      Bi-lingual education seems to bother you. If you would check around the country you would find out that it is not only Spanish speaking students who may be taught in languages other than English. Perhaps you are ignorant of the fact that bi-lingual education is practiced to teach people to use English, not to keep them mono-lingual in Spanish. Just because you don’t speak more than one language doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t.

      I grew up in Tucson, AZ and I speak Spanish as well as my native English. My family immigrated to the colonies in 1607 yet I see no problem in being knowledgeable in a language that was in use in AZ when it was part of Mexico. If you really don’t like outsiders languages being forced upon folks then we should all be speaking indigenous languages of the tribes who lived in North America when folks came here from Europe.

      • SK says

        Dusty, I’m not overly concerned about bilingual education. I speak Spanish, and my kids are taking Spanish in school. But that doesn’t mean that I want my government to support communications in two languages. There’s a difference between choosing to learn and speak another language, and having to pay for dual language, redundant communications. I care about poverty stricken Mexicans. I worked for The Hunger Project helping create and develop income generating projects through women’s enterprises in Mexico. In my opinion, Mexico’s biggest barrier to equality and stability is its extreme economic disparity. The poorest 10% of Mexicans use only 1.52% of the nation’s GNP, while the richest 10% use 38.7% (CIA Factbook). Because of this disparity in resources, and the lack of social services in Mexico, their poor face hardships that we don’t often see here. Their minimum wage is less than $4 a day, while food and other necessities cost as much as here in the U.S. Clinton’s NAFTA benefitted the superrich in both Mexico and the U.S., but exacerbated the extreme poverty in Mexico and degraded our middle class by encouraging the outsourcing of American jobs.

        The problem is that liberals support policies that help the rich in Mexico get richer at the expense of America’s taxpayers. Amnesty would allow millions of Mexico’s poor to legally emigrate here ahead of people from other countries, rewarding those who broke the law by prioritizing them over other potential immigrants. Worse, it rewards the Mexican government and Mexico’s ruling class who benefit from the US dealing with their poor. They get richer while we pay to clean up the problems their greed causes.

        Illegal immigration destabilizes our social structure by bring us closer to the economic disparities of countries like Mexico, India and some other Asian nations. That’s why I dislike liberal naïveté that clamors for amnesty while ignoring the plight of those who don’t break the law by coming here. The fact is, it is bad public policy to prioritize law breakers over all others. This big push by lefties to help only those specific people who came here illegally is just wrong.

        You claim that this law would apply to Canadiens as well as Mexicans etc…

        The law applies to ALL illegal aliens, regardless of race or country of origin. The law is designed to solve the problem of illegal immigration and its huge financial impact on states like Arizona. Canadians who are aliens are subject to deportation as well, in fact I know a number of Canadians who work in this country and they pay close attention to their green cards and their status to ensure they don’t get deported. They also take care to not break the law because they don’t want to be told they can’t renew their green card.

        Dusty, on the one hand you’re saying this law picks on Mexicans, but on the other hand you want US taxpayers to have to pay for extra teachers to teach in Spanish because we have a lot of Mexican immigrants. So you acknowledge that Mexican immigrants are different from all other immigrants, but you don’t want to admit that that’s where the problem lies.

        The financial impacts on states that must accommodate the millions of Mexican immigrants are huge. Teachers that speak Spanish are paid more and are prioritized in hiring and promotions over teachers who don’t speak Spanish. Public agencies hire and promote employees who are Hispanic (not just Spanish speakers) because Hispanic people “feel more comfortable” around government employees from their ethnic group. So a computer programmer who doesn’t ever interact with the public gets promoted ahead of his or her colleagues just because he’s Hispanic! In spite of your denial, Spanish speaking teachers are teaching all subjects in Spanish, they’re not just teaching English to Hispanic kids.

        The cost to US taxpayers and citizens are more than just increased expenses for education and communication. Health care costs are enormous. If a woman can get here to give birth to a child on US soil, and if she chooses to, she can get the US taxpayers to fund the childbirth as well as the cost of raising her child, from healthcare to housing to food stamps to college. Her child can even receive Social Security Disability, even if she and the child’s father have never paid a dime into the Social Security system

        I understand that liberals want our country to take care of others who need our help, but I wish progressives would think about the poor, starving people in Mexico who haven’t snuck across the border. They need our help as much as the lawbreakers do.

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