Earlier this week, Arizona state legislators voted in favor of legislation that – if signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer – would institutionalize discriminatory and dangerous policies by effectively pressuring police to engage in racial profiling, criminalize unauthorized migrants for 'trespassing' into Arizona, and permit anyone to sue local agencies if they believe that the law isn't being adequately enforced. Such policies are as sweeping as they are dangerous.
Civil society, non-governmental, and civil and human rights organizations are rapidly organizing to amplify the voices of both Arizona's constituents and others across the nation to urge Governor Brewer to veto this chillingly misguided legislation designed to propagate fear, further marginalize, and violate the rights of already vulnerable populations living, working and raising families in the state.
If you are a resident of Arizona, we strongly encourage you to visit the Border Action Network's website where you can sign a petition to be delivered to Governor Brewer tomorrow that calls for her to veto this legislation.
For those who do not live in Arizona, please echo the concerns of AZ's residents by signing the National Council of La Raza's petition to "Stop the Madness in Arizona," also to be delivered to Governor Brewer on Friday.
Granting police the authority to investigate the immigration status of any person they encounter if they have 'reasonable suspicion' that the person may be undocumented encourages racial profiling and pulls officers and resources away from the important job of tackling dangerous, criminal activity. Additionally, such measures would jeopardize efforts to protect communities and promote public safety as the police require the confidence and trust of residents to ensure violent crimes are reported and witnesses come forward.
In his Huffington Post article responding to SB 1070, filmmaker John Carlos Frey shares frightening testimony from his childhood of being left alone in San Diego after Border Patrol agents mistakenly detained AND deported his mother to Tijuana, Mexico – a story that has become all too common as local law enforcement is increasingly pressured to engage in immigration enforcement.
Meanwhile, Arizona's residents are feeling the chill of what living in a police state could look like today as ICE launched their largest, coordinated inter-agency raid in history with preliminary reports of around 1,000 agents descending upon Phoenix and Tucson. Within advocacy circles, word has it that this week's events have had a devastatingly chilling effect on communities, families and children in Arizona, including students who have missed school for fear of what may happen if they leave their homes.
Let's make sure that Governor Brewer hears loud and clear that this is a dangerous bill that should be vetoed. Let's urge all our elected officials to bring an end to enforcement-only policies and deportation quotas that separate families, violate civil rights, and promote racial profiling. Instead of creating a climate of fear, we want our local, state and federal leaders to restore peace, justice, and respect for human and civil rights to our policies in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
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