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SB 1070 Foes Plan Major Protest as Law Takes Effect

July 21, 2010

TUCSON, Ariz. - Human and immigrant rights groups have announced what they're calling a "statewide mobilization" against SB 1070 on July 29, the day Arizona's contentious new immigration law is slated to take effect. Rallies, vigils and civil disobedience are planned. Jennifer Allen, director of the Border Action Network, says there will be a political component, as well.

"There's civic engagement campaigns happening all over the state encouraging people to register to vote and to vote by mail, so we can start demanding better accountability from elected officials who do things like vote for and support 1070."

Supporters of SB 1070 say Arizona must take action to stop illegal immigration because the federal government has failed to do so. But Allen believes fixating on securing the border with troops and local law enforcement ignores more fundamental problems with what she calls "our broken immigration system." In her view, the enforcement-only approach serves to further divide society. She says no one in the immigrant rights community is in favor of illegal immigration.

"I have yet to meet somebody who's undocumented that wouldn't prefer to be here with documents and prefer to be here legally. We need a system and a policy in which people can come out of the shadows, can come into this country in a safe and legal way."

Concerns about SB 1070 aren't limited to Latinos, she adds – Native Americans and members of other minority groups also are strongly opposed.

"We have seen the African-American community, the Asian community, all come out in tremendous concern for this law, the likelihood of racial profiling, and the tremendous fear that it's created in all communities of color around the state."

Allen says the actions planned a week from Thursday will go on whether or not the courts put the new law on hold. Seven federal lawsuits have been filed seeking to stop the law from taking effect.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ