Arizona Activists Step Up the Fight, Urge Gov. Brewer to Stop SB 1070

By Julianne Hing Apr 21, 2010

In the six days since the Arizona legislature passed SB 1070, the bill that would empower police officers to detain anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" to believe is undocumented, activists have fought to stop the bill’s passage. The bill is sitting in Governor Jan Brewer’s office; she has until Saturday to either sign or veto the bill, or do nothing and allow it to become law. The Arizona Republic reported that by Monday, Governor Brewer’s office had received 1,356 messages of support for SB 1070 and just under 12,000 phone calls, emails and faxes against the law. On Monday, nine students also chained themselves to the Capitol building in Phoenix and were arrested. Faith, labor and immigration rights groups have set up camp outside the Capitol building as well, and are planning round-the-clock vigils until Brewer makes a decision on the bill. They delivered 50,000 petitions and 10,000 postcards to the Governor’s office urging Brewer to veto the bill. Meanwhile, online campaigns to spread the message about SB 1070 have taken off. Pablo Alvarado, the director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, wrote to his organization’s members and supporters:

There is no such thing as looking American or undocumented, and mandating police officers to racially profile sets this country back to a shameful time in its history where racial segregation was the law of the land. The state of Arizona has become home to experimental laws that use immigration as an excuse to criminalize communities of color…The bill is an assault on this nation’s values.

Alvarado is urging people to sign a petition against SB 1070 at Alto Arizona is also holding a campaign art contest; submissions of posters are pouring in. The Facebook group "People Against SB 1070" has over 5,000 members. is also asking supporters to sign a pledge. The first 100 signers to their petition reads like a roll call of who’s who in immigration, civil rights and racial justice organizing work:

"We, the undersigned, call for an end to immigration policies that divide families, deny educational access, and exploit workers. We agree to stand up and be counted on the issues that matter to Latino communities. With a unified voice we can’t be ignored. Together we will become a powerful online community that promotes justice and holds our leaders accountable. We will be Presente."

SB 1070 would require police officers to ask the immigration status of people they stop for any other reason, and would authorize police officers to arrest people who cannot prove that they are in the state legally. The bill would classify undocumented immigrants as "trespassers" in the state of Arizona; the crime would be considered a felony. It would also include clauses that are traditionally found in anti-immigrant legislation by giving police the right to investigate employers who hire undocumented immigrants and making the hiring of day laborers illegal. poster design: Jon Garza,