On April 23, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed Senate Bill 1070 into Arizona state law. SB 1070, also known as the ‘Anti-Illegal Immigration Law,’ has drawn ire from people across the country, from immigrant rights organizations, to the ACLU, and condemned by President Obama as “misguided.”

The bill calls for arrest and possible detainment of people “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the US.” What exactly is “reasonable suspicion”? Seems to me like a pretty vague condition upon which to base an arrest.

But what’s scarier still is the provision that “[a] law enforcement official or agency… may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

Implicit in this stipulation is that race actually CAN be a contributing factor in arrest, investigation, or detention of someone, regardless of legal status. Abuse of this clause will disproportionately affect people of color, specifically Hispanic and Latinos, given the large number of Mexican immigrants in Arizona. No one should have to worry about “looking illegal.” It amounts to nothing short of mandated racial profiling.

This past Sunday was May 1st: May Day, International Workers’ Day. Given the necessity of immigrants (legal and illegal alike) to the labor force in the United States, it makes a lot of sense for a demonstration against the Arizona bill to take place on May Day. In DC, several thousand demonstrators rallied in Lafayette Park. After speeches, testimonials, songs, and chants, the demonstration culminated in a sit-in in front of the the White House and the arrests of 35 activists, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).

Obama still has yet to act on a comprehensive overhaul after claiming immigration reform as a top priority in 2008. If nothing else, SB 1070 has galvanized immigration activists nation-wide to action.

Clearly, immigration reform can’t wait.

Click here to send a letter to your representative condemning the Arizona’s SB 1070!

Click here to send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder!

And finally, here’s a poem by Joseph Ross, a poet/activist, about Arizona’s Law SB 1070 (courtesy of the folks at Split This Rock from earlier this semester).

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