Racist, anti-immigrant ‘SB1070 2.0’ in Arizona heads to ballot

In a troubling convergence of policy and rhetoric, both the Biden Administration at the federal level and lawmakers in Arizona are again staking out a far-right reactionary stance on immigration. President Biden’s recent executive orders, which tighten asylum restrictions and expedite deportations, mirror the hardline immigration policies championed by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Republicans in the state House have pushed HCR 2060 to the ballot this upcoming November, an initiative deemed “SB1070 2.0” that would further criminalize undocumented immigrants and erode civil liberties. Together, these actions exemplify a bipartisan shift towards policies marked by increased state control, the militarization of the border and the scapegoating of oppressed populations. 

HCR 2060 would grant local law enforcement broad powers to question and detain individuals suspected of being undocumented, reminiscent of SB1070’s controversial “show me your papers” provisions signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Jan Brewer. HCR 2060 would enable local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws without clear guidelines or accountability, potentially leading to abuse and overreach. Notably, HCR 2060 lacks exemptions for sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship, where enforcement actions could have particularly harmful effects on vulnerable populations. This measure could institutionalize racial profiling by allowing law enforcement to act as federal immigration enforcers, leading to wrongful detentions based on appearance and skin color. Furthermore, it provides immunity to officials who enforce these laws, potentially protecting those who engage in discriminatory practices from legal consequences. HCR 2060, if passed by voters, could potentially make its provisions even harder to challenge down the road by bypassing the governor’s veto power and going directly to the ballot box.

Racist immigration policies in Arizona are a longstanding issue, deeply rooted in the state’s history. The Copper State has a legacy of intimidation against its large Latino population, recently exemplified by figures such as Joe Arpaio, who served as Maricopa County Sheriff from 1993 to 2017. Arpaio’s tenure was marked by his harsh treatment of prisoners, criminalization of undocumented workers and endorsement of vigilante violence. In addition, State Superintendent Tom Horne’s efforts to eliminate ethnic studies and dual language education furthered this trend. 

SB 1070 in 2010 initially granted state and local police the authority to act as federal immigration enforcers, making the lack of proper documentation a misdemeanor and institutionalizing racial profiling under the guise of “reasonable suspicion.” The U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against key provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070, following a lawsuit by the Obama administration prompted by public outrage. This situation mirrored the 2006 pro-immigrant movement against the Sensenbrenner bill, where activists persisted despite opposition from liberal leaders. 

Protest of SB 1070, April 26, 2010. Photo by Bob Davis CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Although the Obama administration presented itself as anti-SB 1070, it simultaneously increased deportations to record levels. SB1070 remains law in Arizona, albeit without the enjoined provisions such as mandates for police to investigate immigration status, penalties for not carrying documentation, mandatory arrests for minor offenses or allowance for warrantless arrests of suspected undocumented individuals. Terror against Arizona’s immigrant community persists and the push for the passage of HCR 2060 is the latest chapter of this. 

The Democrats’ prioritization of border control and military spending has led to the neglect of essential services such as housing, healthcare, and education. Their willingness to sell immigrants reveals their true nature. Progressive and revolutionary people should not be fooled by the Democrats’ pro-immigrant rhetoric; continued organizing is necessary to struggle against laws like HCR 2060 and similar measures. Rejecting both bourgeois political parties, the focus should be on building an independent, pro-immigrant mass movement interconnected with the oppressed worldwide. Global solidarity movements, such as those supporting the Palestinian struggle, underscore the importance of collective liberation. True comprehensive immigration reform and equality for immigrants demands the end of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and the Global South. This calls for dismantling all walls, from Mexico to Palestine, as the only way to achieve genuine liberation for all.

Related Articles

Back to top button