Arizona’s Partially Blocked Immigration Law Takes Effect

Yesterday, 9th Circuit Judge Susan Bolton struck down many of the most controversial provisions in Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, including the section requiring police to ask anyone they suspect of being undocumented for proof of citizenship. It’s a small victory. Today, a modified version of the bill goes into effect.

Although Bolton’s decision weakened the state law, several problematic provisions remain in place, including one that allows Arizona residents to sue local police for not enforcing SB 1070, as well as one that makes it a crime to knowingly transport an undocumented immigrant under any circumstance, even in an emergency. ColorLines has a good breakdown of pending lawsuits against SB 1070.

How 287 (g) paved the way for SB 1070

As GritTV’s Laura Flanders explains, both supporters and opponents of SB 1070 agree that the feds laid the groundwork for such stringent enforcement measures. Section 287 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act made it possible to contract law enforcement to arrest immigrants on suspicion. Arizona’s then-Governor Janet Napolitano was the first to sign up for the program, and the biggest federal contract was given to none other than infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County.

The passage of SB 1070 made it clear that the federal government had created a monster. It remains to be seen what will happen next, but fully striking down SB 1070 may have to take a backseat to revisiting the precedent set by 287 G.

Record enforcement under Obama

Conservatives have continuously attacked President Barack Obama and his administration for being weak on immigration, failing to enforce laws, or to secure the border. But, as Elize Foley explains for the Iowa Independent, immigration enforcement is at an all-time high.

It’s estimated that the number of deportations this year will increase by nearly 10 percent over 2008′s total under the Bush administration. In addition, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been auditing business at a rate about four times higher than in 2008. What’s more, rates of illegal immigration have actually fallen in recent years. But with an economic crisis caused by so many of conservatives’ closest allies, it seems that immigrants are the only remaining scapegoats.

Obama polling poorly among Latinos

A new poll conducted by Univision and the AP shows Latino support for Obama and Democrats is slipping, as ColorLines reports. Obama currently has a 57 percent approval rating among Latinos. That figure has dropped significantly from 70 percent in January.

Latinos have been hit especially hard by the unemployment crisis, which could in part account for the drop. Nearly half of those polled reported that they or a family member had lost a job since September, compared to 30 percent for all Americans.

Additionally, the poll found that Obama’s approval rating was closely related to the way he dealt with SB 1070. The poll also found a pronounced split among Latinos based on language. Obama’s approval rating decreased by 21 points among Spanish-speaking Latinos since January, and only 5 points for English-speaking Latinos. As Daisy Hernandez writes, the message for the Obama administration is that “It’s probably time…to take a cue from California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and start working on those Spanish ads.”

Fighting hunger in Arizona’s immigrant communities

Public News Service reports that two “Hunger Fellows” will begin efforts to increase awareness and participation in the food stamp program among Arizona’s Hispanic and Latino communities this coming fall. Enrollment in the food stamp program in Arizona has risen steadily in recent years, with over one million receiving benefits and growing. Many Spanish-speaking Arizonans are hesitant to seek them out, even though they are eligible. The apprehension is exacerbated by the harsh anti-immigrant sentiment prevalent in the state. According to Arizona Community Action Association director Cynthia Zwick:

“The political environment right now has created some barriers to application for food stamps for families that are eligible, people who are legal residents…The bottom line, really, is that families who are eligible have access to those benefits.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.

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photo credit: thanks to Arasmus Photo via flickr

by Annie Shields, Media Consortium blogger

109 comments

Ellen G.
Ellen G7 years ago

I just can't get past the illegal part of illegal alien. Many people come to this country and find a way to do it legally.

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Juan Pablo de la Torre

Loving the place where you were born with all your hearth as to attack others is a symptom of a disease. And it's called xenophobia.

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Amber S.
Amber S7 years ago

Borders really are meaningless... we were just lucky enough to be born here. But does that mean we're automatically entitled to more than our neighbors? I don't know, seems kinda heartless... wish there was a way to get the human population under control... then this wouldn't be such an issue.

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Joseph B.
Joseph B7 years ago

The key word here is ILLEGAL ALLIEN, not illegal immigrant!
There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant- This term being used to foster sympthy for those that care nothing for our laws, only to partake of this Countries wealth and jobs while owing not alligence, pay taxes, nor learn English and the history of this great Nation - No, only the benefits we citizens are entitled to- They care for nothing else-
The fact is they are law breakers- They knew what they were doing when they came here! If there is an amnesty given it should be to return to where they came from with out fear of arrest- Just never come back, or do it right the second time around-

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stefan d.
Stefan Dwornik7 years ago

It is such a shame that the judge basically gutted Arizona' attempt at immigration control. I'm not the only one who feels this way; alot of Americans want laws enforced so there is no work. The we need them to do the jobs we won't do is even stupider now, when American citizens and landed immigrants are looking for any kind of work. No work, no education, no social services, just a see ya later!

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john mccarthy
john mccarthy7 years ago

This article is a BIG STINKING PILE OF CRAP..ask the thousands of construction workers out of work their oppion about this...

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Vince D.
Vince D7 years ago

Laura, the real issue is illegal immigration. And yes, there are people who would object to paying a nickel more for a head of lettuce to have it picked by someone being paid a fair wage.

The fact is that illegal aliens are abused for cheap labor, and their presence takes jobs from American workers and depresses wages. They also greatly burden the social services systems.

If we give amnesty again as we did in 1986, illegal employers (who deserve a special place in hell) will invite in the next wave of illegals, and wages will be further depressed. But we'll have at least 20 million newly legal workers also looking for jobs.

Yes, we need to reform our system. We need to allow people to come here according to the needs of the nation, and not allow immigration to balloon our population.

Amnesty is not an option, been there, done that. We should not grant ANY amnesty to these criminals who are so willing to break our laws. What make you imagine that they will stop breaking the law is amnestied? What makes you imagine that another wave won't head North to demand their amnesty?

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Laura S.
Past Member 7 years ago

We had to debate immigration in economics. When you actually research the topic you'd be amazed at difference between myths and reality. For ex: The same people,(many claim Christianity as their religion) that complain about migrant workers, rush to buy the cheapest prices their slave labor provides. If they or their families get sick, they get critisized for getting medical help. If immigrants want worker's rights, fair wages with benefits, they are raided to be replaced by a "fresh" batch of workers. We demand that immigrants learn English and assimulate but if they are in our schools to do so, they get critisized. The same fraction demanding more border control are screaming about taxes and smaller government and ignoring the facts of border control and crime rates and who the real abusive criminal elements are. We deserately need Humane Immigration Reform!

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Frederick G.
Frederick Glaser7 years ago

I think it is a shame that the federal government won't enforce it's own laws. Where does that leave the public? I have no sympathy for people who live in this country illegally.

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Kassy M.
Kassy Mccoy7 years ago

Hey Lorraine from Florida,
I totally agree with you that all those immigrant Cubans that landed by boat in Florida have inundated and defaced the beautiful Florida lands. I remember my grandmother came from Finland through Ellis Island with her husband, and in those days, each and every immigrant had to prove they were medically healthy, able to sustain themselves and willing to work to improve their status and become a legal citizen. These are the immigrants that had courage, integrity and decent moral practices. These are the inventors, artists, business people and merchants that made this country thrive. Now, we have a bunch of freeloaders, draining and dragging on our system. This problem is contributing to our current National crisis!

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