Phoenix Talks Tough with Protesters
A conservative Republican senate passed the toughest anti-immigration law in the history of the United States of America. It was titled SB 1070 and requires all police officers to detain any person suspected of being in the state without documents.
The provisions of the law did not explain what an “illegal immigrant” looked like, so the burden fell upon those who are frequently stereotyped as being “illegal", primarily Latinos. The marches in protest of Goveror Jan Brewer signing the law went unheard.
The potential for abuse from racial profiling and the departure of “probable cause” for detaining suspects was troubling to civil rights leaders. Even conservatives decried the law because it effectively required every person in Arizona carry a passport when going to the grocery store.
On July 28th, 2010, a decision was handed down by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. Some of the worst provisions of the law were stricken as unconstitutional. Other portions were enjoined from enforcement pending what will likely be years of legal challenges to be paid for by the state of Arizona.
Civil rights organizations supported the protest including Arizona based Puente Movement, Alto Arizona, and the National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network (NDLON) led by charismatic Salvador Reza. It was also supported by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in their Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) campaign.
Thousands of protesters staged actions throughout the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. By mid morning, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was forced to divert his forces from their planned barrio raids in order to assist the overwhelmed city of Phoenix Police Department. Over 80 people were arrested, including Rev. Peter Morales, President of the UUA, Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, and 27 clergy and laypeople. Salvador Reza, was also arrested.Continued on the next page