Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We Are All Arizonans: SB1070 Reflections by Adela Licona

Reflections on Why I am opposed to SB 1070…

I am opposed to SB1070.

I am opposed to SB1070 because this bill is unconstitutional. Its content and what it calls for cannot be reconciled with the concept of equal protection. It ignores constitutional rights and it ignores human rights. This bill will make some of us more equal than others before the law – and that should trouble all of us.

I am opposed to SB 1070 because this bill is dangerous. This bill conflates and consolidates federal and state power – and that should trouble all of us.

I am opposed to SB 1070 because it’s regressive. It moves us backwards in time and practice towards division, separation, and segregation. It promotes anti-immigrant sentiment and hostility and fuels a new cultural racism. It can and it will lead to racial profiling – and that should trouble all of us.

I am opposed to SB 1070 because this bill is impractical. The bill calls on local police officers to do more with less. The bill calls on officers to determine the status of an “alien” based upon “reasonable suspicion.” It will distract police officers in their efforts to keep us safe – and this should trouble all of us.

I am opposed to SB1070 because it dishonors hard-working laborers and in so doing, it promotes discrimination. The language in the bill serves to dehumanize immigrants. It is no way to go about immigration reform.

SB 1070 is immoral. It will produce an environment of threat that allows for even grosser and more exploitative laboring and living conditions. It validates uncivil discourse and unleashes hateful rhetoric that has material consequences particularly for the least among us.

I am opposed to SB1070 because it is a bill constructed on questionable premises.

We must not be deluded by the language of this bill, as there is a difference between immigration, safety, and security.

We must question the assertions that Arizona is less safe because of the presence of migrants. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico is a most dangerous city that is forcing migrants to flee into El Paso and yet El Paso continues to be considered among the safer cities in the US and was even a named 2010 finalist for the “All American City Award.”

I’m opposed to SB 1070 because it is a smokescreen that keeps us from seeking answers to questions such was what motivates migration? And not only who benefits from exploitative labor and its productions - but who is accountable for it? Why, if migrants are actively recruited to labor in our agricultural and service industries - and more - must they alone bear the burden of laws such as SB1070?

In my research, I have visited meatpacking plants and the “new destinations” or local communities in which they are situated and continue to wonder how a bill such as SB 1070 can become law while migrants are actively recruited to labor in and for our country.

Beyond the meatpacking industry, migrants are the reasons Arizonans and others across the US enjoy cheap produce, and clothes, and subsidized child care. Migrant labor is present in hotels, motels, private homes, restaurants and construction projects across the US.

As not only a participant but as a beneficiary of such a subsidized economy – the state of Arizona is complicit in the presence of migrant labor.

We must promote public dialogue, awareness, and understanding about the motivations for migration. The issue of migrant labor is a global issue made ever more urgent in the context of neoliberalism because of the unevenness globalization in such a context imposes, aggravates, and entrenches.

Make no mistake about it though – SB 1070 is not just about migrants - documented or undocumented. It is about all of us. Those of us who are brown. And those of us who aren’t. This bill clearly makes some of us more equal than others before the law – and that’s unconstitutional. And immoral. Simply stated, it’s wrong.

SB1070 is insidious.

It breeds a politics of fear that promotes suspicion that is not reasonable. Instead, it is UNreasonable and unjust.

I’m opposed SB1070 in the name of my father. During WWII my father worked in the navy shipyards where service men and civilians alike called him “Chile” as a nickname. Bills like SB1070 promote such degradation and that should be unacceptable to all of us.

I’m opposed to SB 1070 in the name of my daughters. I don’t want my daughters to believe that life in the US must be lived in fear of difference. Or that reasonable suspicion can be determined by the status of one’s immigration, or one’s class, or the color of one’s skin. I want them to know that the discourses we engage in – civil and uncivil - have import and consequence.

I was raised on the US/Mexico border and all my life I have witnessed the exploitation and the unjust treatment of working people of color. SB1070 is a wake up call to me. Living in Arizona is a wake up call to me. We are not only in a recession, we are in a regression. We are headed in a backward direction and we must act. 

Please read the bill. Re-read the 14th Amendment. Use your heart together with your mind. Use the privilege and power of your education. Use your voice. Speak up for others who are too afraid or otherwise can’t speak for themselves, speak up for yourself and for our community.

S1070 must be repealed. Adela C. Licona


Feminist Action Research in Rhetoric (FARR) Opposed to SB1070

As a collective of scholars and activists who live in the borderlands of Southern Arizona, we stand in united, steadfast opposition of the signing and enforcement of SB1070, as well as HB2162. As feminists, we believe in actively addressing issues of inequality, exclusion, and oppression. While this new law affects each of us individually in a variety of ways, it affects all of us because it threatens to intimidate and incarcerate us, our families, our neighbors, and our colleagues.

While we acknowledge that the law does not explicitly state that racial profiling and harassment will be part of the enforcement of this law, we have experienced first- hand the role racializing practices already play in law and border enforcement, political action, and public discourse in Southern Arizona. This law gives additional legitimacy to a regressive politics of fear and suspicion that will further divide our beleaguered community. Moreover, the unsettling speed and viciousness with which some of our fellow Arizona citizens have dismissed the clearly racist heart of SB1070's assumptions are only further evidence of our current need for coalition as we openly challenge institutionalized and legislated racism wherever it exists.

We call on the members of our community, law enforcement, state government, and the rest of the country to speak out against this bill. We must educate those who may not understand the specific problems and long-lasting consequences with the wording and intent of this measure. SB1070 will not make our borders more secure or our neighborhoods safer; it threatens the humanity of all people living and working in this border state. We are Arizonans--migrant, native, transitional, and transnational--who stand against the intimidation and/or harassment of people in the borderlands and elsewhere.

*Feminist Action Research in Rhetoric, FARR

Marissa Juárez, Regina Kelly, Adela C. Licona, Londie Martin, Rebecca Richards, Shannon Ritchie, Jenna Vinson, Amanda Wray

*FARR is a collective of public scholars and activists who are committed to public scholarship, public rhetoric, civic, and civil discourse.  For more information contact


Jamie A. Lee said...

So true. Thanks for your courage to put your perspective out there. You're not alone in this response. Now let's get busy and make some change. Come on, everybody!

Kore Press said...

thanks for your comment, Jamie. Let's get busy indeed! what next, Adela??

Kore Press said...

Belligerent and disrespectful comments that come in for moderation are not being posted. This space is for respectful dialog.