Excellent reflection below by the director of Puente Arizona on the immigrant rights movement this eve of the decision about SB 1070 from the US Supreme Court.
Signs of resistance by Peggy Plews.
Please come out to this weekend's:
Saturday, April 23, 2012 at 8pm.
2939 W. Durango Street
"Imagine no prisons..."
maricopa county jail: tent city
phoenix AZ april 2011
----------------as posted at POLITIC365.com----------------------
BY CARLOS GARCIA
The migrant rights movement in this country is about to enter a new
phase and every person, no matter their position, will have to decide
how they will relate to it.
While many are waiting to see the
decision of the Supreme Court related to the Department of Justice’s
SB1070 case, a human rights crisis of epic proportions is already
roiling in Arizona.
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
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.
This struggle has both destroyed parts of our community and made us
stronger. In the past years, we have learned important lessons and
developed new ways to fight. The name ‘Arizona’ currently is a mark of
embarrassment that makes people think of bigotry. But in the not too
distant future, people will think of the birthplace of a new human
rights movement when they hear talk about the state.
than a decade, we petitioned Congress for immigration reform only to be
kicked around as a political football by both parties. We hoped things
would change with President Obama but instead of feeling our pain, he
caused more of it. Instead of executive action to grant us relief, he
gave us record deportations and unprecedented quotas. When all else
failed, we looked at the courts but even they seem ready to deny us our
Since Governor Brewer signed the bill meant to send
us running, migrant communities have responded by losing our fear and
peacefully defending ourselves. By learning our rights and more
importantly, how to defend them when law enforcement tries to ignore
them, we have created networks of protection that are prepared for the
raids and the wrongful arrests. We have deepened our culture and
celebrated our vision for a world without hate. People who before hid in
our homes for fear of being picked up by police now are leading marches
and supporting neighbors in efforts to keep our families together.
If Arpaio wants to find us, we will instead find him because we have
learned that we are safer coming out of the shadows than living in them.
When undocumented people confront the system, it crumbles and it
becomes clear that they are more afraid of us than we are of them.
If undocumented people are willing to risk everything by confronting
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, what are other supporters, allies, and family
members willing to do?
As more of SB1070 is poised to go into
effect and federal policies spread the same nation-wide, what will you
do as we learn to defend our neighborhoods?
We have declared
that we will not comply with hate. Every single person and institution
must make the same evaluation. Will the federal government willingly
deport Sheriff Arpaio’s victims when he hands over those caught in his
raids? Will school districts agree to ask kindergarteners for the
documents? Will neighbors draw the shades when checkpoints go up on
Or will we refuse to comply and as a result prevent SB1070’s strategy from working?
In Solidarity with Tucson's Ethnic Studies students and teachers
Arizona's Centennial Day (February 14, 2012)
Attorney General Horne's Office
If they are coming for us now, they will be coming for you next.
Immigrants are today’s scapegoats but there will be someone next to
blame and fill the private prisons.
As undocumented people fill
the vacuum of leadership on these issues and demonstrate real courage,
all of us are called to follow their example.
The truth is that
the suffering in Arizona isn’t caused by the cold hearts and bigoted
minds of our adversaries. It is the apathetic souls of those who look
upon Arizona and stand idly by. Perhaps people hear ‘immigrant’ and
believe it does not apply to them or that we somehow deserve the
treatment we receive.
White fear of the re-browning of this
continent and general worry over unemployment and economic security has
turned many against migrants as an easy scapegoat. But if we look deeply
enough, we see that we hold in common both the cause of our troubles
and the solution to our suffering. Around the world, people are toppling
those who have ruled by broken promises and brutal policies. Arizona
and the US will be no exception.
Change has always come when
people challenged and broke unjust laws. Nonviolent civil disobedience
has been used to historically to challenge racism and inequality from
factory floors to lunch counters and buses.
And so, this is a
call to action whether you are a community member directly affected,
consider yourself an ally, or someone who up until now has been a
bystander in the immigration battles. The undocumented youth movement
has set an example of what it is to be unafraid, and the bravery they
display far outweighs the courage elected officials lack. They have
proven that the safest place for anyone targeted by these laws is out,
proud, and part of an organized community.
As the migrant
rights movement steps into this new phase, we do not do it alone. Allies
can harbor anyone targeted, hire anyone fired, and refuse to allow
Arizona or Arpaio to become the new normal. At the end of June, we will
rally together in Phoenix at Sheriff Arpaio’s self-described ‘concentration camp,’ tent city and begin a summer of resistance in the
state and across the country where these laws and their champions are
calling for a challenge.
The present may feel heavy but the
future is bright. Because love always overcomes hate. Our numbers are on
our side. The truth is on our side. With or without those in power,
history is on our side. We just have to put our shoulders to the gears
of history and push.
Carlos Garcia is the director of Puente
Arizona, a Phoenix-based human rights organization dedicated to
empowering migrant communities.
Freewayblogging the SB1070 Resistance
Phoenix, AZ (July 28, 2010)