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Arizona’s SB 1070: The Battle for Immigrant’s Rights


SB 1070 Protest at The Capitol Building. Source:

Arizona’s SB 1070 put immigration enforcement in the national spotlight. Soon after Arizona proposed the broadest and strictest immigration law in the country, activists organized mass protests and at least five other states began the process of adopting similar laws. A judge has stopped portions of 1070—for now. But the legal and ideological battles continue.

On this edition, we look at SB 1070 – the law, its intentions and effects, and how it has motivated immigrant communities to become politically active.


Marisa Franco, Right to the City National Lead Organizer; Andrea Christina Mercado, Mujeres Unidas Activas organizing director; John Bouma, attorney for the state of Arizona; Edwin Kneedler, U.S. Deputy Solicitor General; Juana Tello, People Organized to Win Employment Rights organizer; Charlotte Noss, protester; Steven Chan, protester.

For more information:

Arizona Coalition for Migrant Rights
Pheonix, AZ

Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070

Border Action Network
Tucson, AZ

Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
Florence, AZ

Immigration Policy Center
Washington, D.C.

Mujeres Unidas y Activas
San Francisco, CA

Pew Hispanic Center
Washington, D.C.

Right to the City
Washington, D.C.

Author: Kwan

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  1. SB 1070 does not state “being brown is a crime”. SB 1070 is a reinforcement law, that enforces immigration laws set by the Federal Government. Being brown is not a crime, however BEING ILLEGAL IS! You all need to stop with the cry for sympathy. The only sympathy you are receiving is Obama’s, which will be his last mistake. You cannot give State’s the right to enforce laws, and then reign down on one law you disagree with. That would mean changing the Constitution. WON’T HAPPEN. Amnesty will not happen. The day that it does, is the day you will see true hate, and true crimes. Some of our states are entirely too close to the Mexican borders, making it easy for your people to come into our country and do whatever the hell you want! If you aren’t a citizen of our country, you don’t have to follow our laws… Freedom isn’t about receiving everything for free.

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  2. Okay um lets see, SB1070 is a f@#$* discriminatory law! I mean what the f@#$ is up with the bullsh@#$* that if you look like an immigrant than cops can stop you and ask you for ID, just cause you aint as pale as paper you’re automatically suspected of being an illegal alien. You want to know the reasons your economy is going down the drain? It’s because all the illegal immigrants do the work that citizens are to picky and lazy to do, like really if people werent as judgmental, ignorant and pig headed and actually gave illegal immigrants (i’m not just saying mexicans but also asians,europeans, indian, the caribean immigrants) a chance to become legal maybe they could get your economy working. plus what if the places that all these illegal immigrents where coming from decided to not let the people from the US come to their countries? What if they cut off all connections with the U.S meaning trade and stuff? what do you think would happen? the U.S would be in a shit load of problems. I dont know but i think a reform would be a better idea than not givin them a chance
    thx 😛

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  3. i think that all this bull shit is wrong. you shouldn’t let the cops think like “oh they are brown they must be mexican” you know? its full of shit. i dont’ like this new law it discrimates against people you know? this law isn’t going to bring the countries together. its going to break them apart, and the next thing you know people are going to have to start wearing flags on there clothes all the time to indicate that we are from this country. this new law is nothing but bullshit.

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  4. Please sound intelligent if you are going to post. All this law does is legalize racial profiling. Rebublicans in Arizona are passing the same discriminatory ideas of the Jim Crow era. When are you going to realize you are dealing with outdated ideas that have proven not to work?

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  5. I think that these laws are absolutely ridiculous! And they need to be put to a stop. Too many people are being separated from their families. And many families of immigrants are in fear of being deported but are only here to have a better life. So people need to stop acting like we are some kind of disease. And no we are not taking anybody’s job, we worked for them. If another person wanted they would’ve have worked for it. We need the same rights as the white man. So overall we need to stop with this discrimination! -Proud to be brown.

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  6. THIS IS F@#$*( STUPID ! i hate white people now.

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  7. First of all, Arizona look at your damn economy since you put the SB 1070 all your workers are gone. Dumb white people just because you don’t want to go work in the sun because your afraid to get sunburned or work at the car wash because you don’t want to catch a cold it doesn’t mean you can hate on us because we’re doing the work. This country was founded on immigrants, do the research. If you want to call anybody, immigrants look in the mirror. COLUMBUS IS THE TRUE IMMIGRANT. IF YOU WANT TO SEND US BACK TO MEXICO THEN ALL YOU WHITE PASTY FACE PEOPLE GO BACK TO EUROPE…

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  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. We appreciate the lively discussion. Please try to refrain from using cuss words. We’re trying to maintain a respectful tone on this blog. Thanks everyone!

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  11. Right, let’s be fair. Anybody who wants a better life has every right to enter the US illegally and take a job that Americans are too lazy and/or spoiled to take.
    I think we should invite a couple hundred million citizens of China, Somalia, Bangladesh, and anywhere else to come join the struggle for freedom and pursuit of the American Way of Life.
    That’s totally doable, right?

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  12. All you guys are stupid!! It’s not the fact that people in Arizona won’t take the jobs, its the fact that because mexicans come in illegally, they dont PAY TAXES!!!! Thats why the economy in AZ is doing bad. Arizona would be happy to let the immigrants take the bad jobs, as long as they get ctizenship and pay freakin taxes!!!! Also, don’t talk about this unless you no your facts and have actually read about the bill, so im basically talking to everyone above!!

    Sincerely, A white person from AZ

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  13. f.y.i. some illegal immigrants actually do pay taxes, get your facts straight before you start running your mouth. us immigrants come in for a better life and take the jobs white people don’t want.

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    say you are here legally, giving an officer this power is taking away our rights. this goes against our constitution.

    This law will only further racisim in this country and cause many more problems. “americans’ are only immagrants who have lived here long enough. unless you come from the first people that columbas found here than you are an immigrant. so everyone should be kicked out.

    im not saying that the borders should be wide open. but if american companies are allowed to go offshore and give other countries jobs that should belong to americans, why cant immigrants save americans the trouble and take the jobs in america.

    racial profiling is unconstitutional and so is this law. AZ is dumb for not being able to grow from all the immigrants it has. thank god for CA, best state ever, even passed the dream act. highly populated with immigrants and pretty stinking rich. (compaired to the rest of the USA)

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  15. OHG! I’m so sick of all this victim mentality. We have always had laws here in the US. There is a right way and a wrong way to come here and have a life here in the US! If it’s not done right, there are consequences. That applies to ANY law!! I am sick of paying for all the illegals medical, dental, private schools, food stamps, WIC, rent subsidy, uninsured motorist insurance, free lunches for their children, and all the other free stuff they get just for being minority. How is that fair? I can’t even have all those same for me and my own family and I’m a citizen!!!! What the hell is going on here in our Country.?? I just don’t get it. I am self employed and get afford health insurance and I pay taxes!!!!!!!! It just makes me so mad. I want what they get and can’t have it!!!

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  16. how is this law not racial profiling? what is is about a person that makes them look immigrant? so i am a US citizen but I am Latina. if a cop is to pull be over he has the right to ask me for my paper just because i am Hispanic. they will be violating my right by asking for them. Also it is not that immigrants take the job Americans don’t want to do is the fact that if Americans take the job immigrants do the economy will go down. company wont be able to afford paying minimum wage to Americans. immigrants do the job for less. if every company pay minimum wage they are most likely to go bankrupt

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  17. @ Annie, of coures illegal aliens are doing the job for less. Do you think they have a room to bargain?

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  18. This isn’t a racist law, the bill states very clearly that “probable cause” to ask for documentation cannot be based on race or skin color. And all Arizona’s officers took a mandatory course on determining a true probable cause. AND, the police can only ask people who are already being arrested for a crime. FOR A CRIME. it’s only to find and apprehend CRIMINAL illegal aliens. READ THE BILL, GUYS, it’s actually a pretty good idea.

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  19. I know this law isnt right but you who say that they hate white people for this, are ignorant. you obviously dont know that there are white people that support immigrants. AND also to those who say illegal mexican immigrants dont pay taxes are as ignorant as the ones who say its white peoples fault, most Illegal people still pay taxes! theres legal people who dont pay taxes, so its not a matter of legal status, if you want to contribute to the U.S. you can legal or not.

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  20. This law is a bunch of bs! the officials in Arizona are not even searching for all illegal immigrants. Unfortunally this law is just tageting Hispanics. i have looked at the numbers and deportations have increased drastically among Hispanics. Africans, Asians, and Europeans have not been targeted when this Bill says ALL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

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  21. Illegal immigrants are called this because they are ‘illegal’. What is illegal?Not legal;contrary to law;prohibited;illicit.(Check Webster’s).Doing something illegal is what? Wrong.That’s correct- Very good! When we do something wrong, there are what? Consequences. Yes, very good! So now we see that this issue has nothing to do with being brown (or any other color)(If I am tanned I am brown).Countries have laws for a reason. If one wants all the benefits of a country they should follow the laws of that country.If they do not wish to follow those laws, why do they wish to be in that country? Our country has provisions for non-citizens to become citizens. Would other countries let you enjoy all the benefits of their country without becoming a citizen? No. Their thought is, ‘if you want the benefits of our country, you will need to follow our laws AND the provisions for becoming a citizen.’ And they are correct in doing so. So are we.Those who feel this is unfair (or whatever) are showing their blatant disregard and disrespect for this country. Why is it right for people to break a country’s laws & then EXPECT that country to defend them?When people want something for nothing(obtaining it illegally) it says something about them; It gives a tell into their character.If you want a better life go about it the right & legal way. This is all very logical. To say otherwise is illogical.A lot of times the truth hurts & it isn’t very pretty, but it IS the truth.So, let’s check our attitudes & make the necessary adjustments. It’s hard, BUT it is possible. And, it’s a good thing!

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  22. first of all, i feel like we should all stop talking crap. we all come here for a better life. we should get or atleast have a chance to have a better one. papers are extremely hard to get. it costs a lot of money. stop being so close minded and open your heads you ignorant people, its not about the money. money comes and goes. were all here to have the rights we have now. we dont come here to purposely f**** up the econmy, its not our damnn purpose. so GROOW UP !

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  23. SB 1070 has merely allowed racist policing to take over here in Arizona. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Dept seems to feel it has the authority to round up all brown people and make them give proof of their citizenship. They have done this in Chandler, AZ, and elsewhere. Everyone brown was asked to give proof of citizenship, even though some “brown” families have been in Arizona for hundreds of years before any “white” people arrived – Indians and so-called Hispanics. We should not be basing our immigration policy on race. Our current “laws” are a fascist joke to the rest of the world. In a truly free democracy, if the laws are causing tragedy after human tragedy, as they are in this case, then you change the law to make it more just and more humane. In my book, if international capital wants to flow freely across borders, so should international labor. As immigration flows and globalization increase, open borders will eventually be found to be the only sustainable solution for humanity’s future, even if they involve registration of the humans on the move. Neither the US nor AZ have the right to go on imposing racist, inhumane, militaristic “solutions” that merely increase the problems and costs exponentially for everyone.

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  24. Everything that has been said negatively about immigration, I say to all of you what if the shoe was on the other foot. Would Americans be welcome into your country with open arms illegally. I think not.. Every where you go you are asked to produce your documentation (isn’t that profiling, “pasty white”) if approached by police officials. Why is that?? To make sure you are there legally. The people of Mexico wouldn’t want foreigners to come into their country and set up house and take jobs from them and be doing it illegally. In case some of you have forgotten there are US Citizens of every race and creed (not just white) who don’t want people here illegally. Get your green card, take the Constitution Test, become a Citizen, pay your taxes. Then you can have all those freedoms you are crying for now. Life is not fair but deal with it! We have too!!!

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  25. @Hispanic, so if papers are extremely hard to get, and it costs a lot of money (your words), still it’s not an excuse to come to the U.S. illegally. You also suggests that it is not about “money” or “purposely f***” up the economy, well in reality it is. According to the data from the Texas Office of Immigration, “Illegals cost more than they contribute in tax revenues. The greatest expense by far is associated with public schooling for the children of illegals.” Oh by the way, just in case if you were wondering about the services that you’ve been enjoying; welfare, education, that money is from us citizens that have been working so hard. There’s no such thing as “free” money.

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  26. For all of those who feel that there is nothing wrong with this bill, and that being illegal is a crime, explain to me then, why every citizen in America isn’t being stopped and asked for identification and documentation. No one is a legal immigrant. Every single person in this country originated from either the UK, Europe, Spain, etc. The only true legal citizens are the Native Americans who were here before any of us. And look at what we did to them. They’re forced to live on reservations where living conditions and opportunities to better their lives is restricted. They’re culture is slowly dying away and all we can seem to do is bicker and whine about an issue that should have been addressed the moment the pilgrims walked on this land. They helped us survive, they helped us thrive, and yet here we sit on our high horses taking in all the credit and glory. We’re so self absorbed we can’t even accept the fact that a black man runs our country. None of us deserve to have any say against this bill. None of us deserve the right to call ourselves “legal citizens” because I’m sure when our ancestors came here, nobody gave a damn.

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  27. I’m sick and tired of the illegals saying it is their right to work in the United States and send money back home to support relatives. These people are breaking U.S. law and should all be deported. They steal, kill policemen, cause auto accidents, murder innocent people, use honey hard working U.S. taxpayers’ money for health care, enforcing our laws by utilizing our hard working authorities, send their children to our taxpayers schools costing millions upon millions of tax dollars, cause problems in our public schools, etc. Now in the southern part of Texas the advertisements in newspapers are also in spanish and billboard in all parts of Houston are in spanish. These people are not U.S. citizens; the Obama administration and all federal government offices are not doing what they were voted and hired to do. They are being in drug cartels to our states. The only thing that will stop them from taking over some of our states is the United States Supreme Court.

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  28. Im american with mexican parents, and my parents are legal. i am neither against the bill nor for it because if you take a look from a citizens view and an immigrants view both make an excellent point. from an immigrants point of view it can be racial profiling and racist, and they payed alot & worked hard to get here & they do take alot of the jobs many people dont wanna do. But Citizens really dont get alot of help like immigrants do, my mom had applied for welfare & they denied it to her, a US citizens, and she knows alot of illegal immigrants who have lived off of it for more that 18 years. Also the law says when a cop pulls you over or something they ask for your legal papers i would assume one must have committed a crime in order for the cops to have one detained. i just say we shouldn’t say white people this and Mexicans that cause it makes people sound ignorant. cause not all Mexicans are illegal & not all white people support this law. We’re being hypocrites for saying its wrong to racial profile when many Hispanics are doing the same towards white people.

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  29. A recent news broadcast from Indiana that
    highlighted an IRS loophole that is currently costing taxpayers in excess of
    $4B a year, according to Russell George, US Treasury Inspector General. The loophole is allowing countless
    undocumented workers to receive large federal tax refunds through downright
    fraudulent means.. I am emphatically opposed, to illegal
    immigrants that take advantage of our laws and regulations to gain unearned
    lucre. The previously mentioned broadcast
    tells just a story.

    It detailed
    how illegal immigrants who receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
    can file a federal tax return and receive inflated refunds by claiming the
    Additional Child Tax Credit for multiple dependent children. Most of those kids do not live in the filer’s
    home, let alone this country, nor are they sons and daughters, but nieces and
    nephews! I’m infuriated and appalled
    that the IRS has taken little or no action to correct this debacle, in spite of
    the Inspector General’s reports of abuse and their recommendations for
    corrective action.

    Not only are
    these undocumented, non-citizen workers being paid for their labor with US
    dollars, but they are blatantly exploiting a loophole to illegally obtain US
    funds to line their pockets or send to their relatives left behind. I am upset with the IRS’s buck-passing
    attitude and the apparent inaction of an impotent government to stop such a
    drain on American taxpayers. According
    to the news story, the IRS says they can do nothing unless Congress intervenes. If our government truly wants to reverse our
    trillions of dollars debt crisis, it must first tackle and eradicate the
    millions and billions of dollar disasters that lurk in every governmental
    department. Why not start with the IRS.

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  1. Of Illegal Immigration, ICE Audit and I « elcidharth - [...] “Arizona’s SB-1070: the Battle for Immigrant’s Rights” Making Contact, produced by National Radio Project. November 16, [...]
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