Alto Arizona has been outspoken on the disastrous and discriminatory impact of Arizona's most recent immigration law, SB 1070, since the legislation was pushed into the spotlight by Governor Jan Brewer in May of 2010. And though a federal court judge has now stayed the most damning pieces of legislation -- those that would require police to ascertain the legal status of anyone "suspected" of being in the country illegally -- this issue is far from settled. Across the country, dozens of states are moving to enact policies not unlike the one proposed in Arizona -- policies that will make it increasingly dangerous to be a person of color -- much less an immigrant -- in America.
To respond to this growing anti-immigrant movement, Alto Arizona is asking social justice organizations and community groups to urge President Obama to take decisive action on this issue. In particular, they are asking the President to end the dangerous merger of the federal immigration enforcement system with state criminal justice systems -- a merger that unjustly funnels non-citizens into the immigration enforcement systems (and likely deportation) by way of minor offenses. As Alto Arizona's open letter explains,
[The Department of Homeland Security's] immigration enforcement programs have allowed arrests for minor charges, such as driving without a license and petty theft... to be the gateway for immigration enforcement. They also provide an incentive to state and local police to arrest persons who look or sound "foreign" so that their immigration status may be checked. Once non-citizens are channeled into the immigration enforcement system – regardless of guilt or innocence, severity of the offense or how long ago it occurred, rehabilitation or ties to the community – they face a detention and deportation system with few due process protections.
Read the letter in its entirety and then urge your organization to sign on as an endorser (no individual sign-ons are being accepted at this time). You have until September 3rd to add your group's name to the growing list of social justice organizers speaking out on behalf of immigrants across America.
If you're an individual who wants to make a difference, sign your name to the open letter Alto Arizona is hosting on behalf of the National Women's Caucus Against ICE and Police Collaboration. Every signature helps!
Photo: Alto Arizona, Non-Compliance Action Front Line (detail).