August RMC: SB1070

Today, July 29, 2010, a law takes effect that targets undocumented people living in Arizona’s communities, SB1070.

Yesterday, we won a significant victory when the courts struck down the most egregious parts of the law. The peoples’ voices always rise before the court’s decisions, so with this sign of progress we will continue fighting the remainder of this unjust law.

ROP and HDGs have a long history of letting values of human dignity and democracy be our guide through the seas of cultural change. As we celebrate this small victory for basic human decency & prepare ourselves to continue the work of diffusing the wedge of hate in our own communities, let’s take a minute to realign with what we know to be true.

Piecemeal immigration laws like SB 1070 do not represent our values:

1. This law tears communities apart. These laws and programs play on people’s fears and stereotypes about immigrants and make our communities less safe. They dehumanize our neighbors through use of terms like "criminal alien" that seek to create an "us and them". This law literally creates an "us" versus "them" by making immigrants out to be criminals and making it a felony to give rides to or homes to undocumented people. Wedges do not build community.

2. This law doesn’t address the root causes: economic collapse in the US and in Latin America. We see hatred rising out of citizen’s fear that there is not enough jobs, enough money or enough space. The clouds of prosperity have evaporated and left the social fault lines visible. And immigrants have no economic security either in their home countries or as potentially exploited workers here in the US. This is about US economic policy, not about the people trying to feed their families or make a life in our towns.

3. This law targets a specific population of people for persecution based mainly on race. Despite the fact that the most egregious racial profiling elements were blocked from becoming law, SB1070 still targets the Latino population through police and ICE collaboration. No matter what the laws intentions, the outcome is that white supremacist groups are aligning with anti-immigrant groups to do armed border patrols. Actions speak louder than words; and neither represent human dignity or welcoming communities.

ROP and Human Dignity Groups are in good company: resources that break through hate and inform our directions for the future:

1. Fantastic one page document from the Center for Community Change that looks at What was Blocked by the courts, What is now law and What we need to do. Simple & effective.
2. Sweet Honey in the Rock, Are We a Nation Music Video. Just to enjoy.
3. The Safe Communities Project, which ROP is a part of, produced this piece of street theater about the collaboration between local police and ICE titled: The Doomed Wedding
4. The North American Congress on Latin America produced this article tracing the history of SB1070 and the between the law, the nation, the economy and prison system. A thorough read on the situation.

Action matters: Uniting our voices from Oregon to Arizona

We made a lasting impact. Our work over the past months to demand a more just and humane immigration policy and to stand against the policies laid out so starkly in SB 1070 are a part of yesterday’s success. It is possible to move our communities toward a positive vision of immigration justice. Now, we move forward!

1. Renew your vigilance to working on your local immigration justice efforts, working to stop "Secure Communities", and working to build a Welcoming Oregon.
2. Take a minute right now to write a letter to your local newspaper expanding on one of the ways that SB1070 does not represent our values and share your support for immigrants in your own community. See below for a sample letter.

Sample letter for August: 

Dear Editor,

I’m glad that at least part of AZ SB1070 was blocked by the courts; it shows that there is movement for a positive vision for immigration justice. Unfortunately Judge Bolton allowed to stand a provision that makes it a crime to "harbor" or "transport" an undocumented immigrant. This is a dangerous provision that will have consequences for advocates, human rights workers, church leaders and especially mixed-status families. It will now be a crime for a U.S. citizen to live with a loved one who is undocumented, or to drive them to work, to school, to a hospital or even to an immigration office to deal with their status. I want our law makers to know that SB1070 does not represent our communities values. I want a community where we welcome immigrants and we hold high the importance of diversity. I want to live in a place where no one lives in fear of being ripped from their family. I want to support my neighbors, friends and fellow parents that live in our town as immigrants. These laws are a bad path for our country and need to be repealed.

Your name, address, and phone.


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