A year after SB 1070 and some of its consequences

27 Apr

A Year After SB 1070, the Deportation Pipeline Still Begins in Washington, Colorlines, April 25,

April 23, 2011 marked a year after SB 1070 passed in Arizona.  Since then, 24 states have attempted to pass copycat bills, with Georgia being the state that has come the closest. The bill has failed in 12 of these states, but it remains active in the rest.  Meanwhile, our President has embarked on his re-election journey.  In a recent editorial, La Opinión captured the irony with a simple yet disturbing fact: “The candidate who obtained a crucial number of Latino votes with the promise of immigration reform is the President who has deported the most people.” Not exactly the type of immigration reform we were hoping for, nor the one we deserve.  As the President continues his re-election campaign, it will be interesting to see how we respond to new promises of immigration reform and how we make our voices heard.

In making our voices heard, we need to consider the consequences of bills such as SB 1070. Several critics have focused on the economic consequences and have noted, as one article from New America Media put it, that immigrant activists have gained “unlikely” allies in the business community. While it is important to acknowledge the economic impact, we also need to recognize the health repercussions of such anti-immigrant actions.  For example, public health professionals often talk about the negative consequences of long-term stress (termed “allostatic load ”). Through this lens we can see that immigrants face another level of stress: that of just being an immigrant in a hostile and racist social environment. Several groups have suggested remedies to reduce or ameliorate the detrimental effects of anti-immigrant policies like SB 1070; these strategies include forming and sustaining multi-ethnic coalitions, pushing back against Obama’s shocking number of deportations, and calling out S-COMM for misrepresenting itself. These movements are gathering steam, but we need a strong and sustained effort to create pro-immigrant policies that reduce or remove these anti-immigrant stressors.

In Other Related News:

Black Legislators on Frontline Against AZ-style Immigration Laws, April 20, 2011

Black legislators in states around the country have spoken out against SB 1070 copycat bills.  In Mississippi, the Black Caucus was instrumental in defeating a copycat bill.  A Black legislator from Harlem introduced a DREAM bill in the New York state legislature.  Black politicians have framed the immigration debate in the language of civil rights and have called into question the “morality and wisdom of tough immigration legislation.”

Más que reuniones, April 21, 2011

An editorial in Spanish language paper La Opinion declared this week “The candidate who obtained a crucial number of Latino votes with the promise of immigration reform is the president who has deported the most people.” It states that periodic political meetings (reuniones) to talk about immigration reform are not enough, and that it is time for the President to actually focus on and advance immigration reform.

Obama is Our “Frenemy” – An Open Letter to Latinos April 21, 2011

Roberto Lovato of presente.org argues that national immigration reform groups and the President claim to support immigrants’ rights, but settle for the current situation where Latinos are exploited for their political vote and then ignored when it comes to stopping deportations and advancing a fair immigration reform effort.

Best Weapons Against Anti-Immigration Bills – Interethnic Coalitions, Economy, April 22, 2011

Currently, it’s estimated that 52 SB1070 copycat bills have been introduced in state houses around the country.  Despite the President’s campaign promise to focus on immigration issues in a second term, advocates say that the heart of the immigration rights and reform movement is not in Washington, but in multi-ethnic communities around the country.

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