After many months of hate and terror reigning over the lives of Arizona immigrants and communities of color, a glimmer of hope is beginning to shine on the horizon.
Last month, Arizona Republicans struck down a series of anti-immigrant bills brought to the floor of the Senate. Many of the same politicians that voted in favor of SB 1070 voted against these bills. It wasn’t because the bills were any more or less hateful than SB 1070, or because the politicians had a change of heart. Rather, the reason for the turn of events was the amount of pressure that Ariz. politicians are feeling because of the boycott of the state called by immigrant rights advocates.
The pressure Ariz. business leaders and Republicans are feeling came because of the actions of hundreds of thousands of people, in side Arizona and out, for immigrant and human rights. The May 29 march bringing over 100,000 people to the streets of Phoenix; the July 29 day of noncompliance, temporarily shutting down Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigrant jail; the national boycott of the state after passing SB 1070. Those actions caused Arizona’s biggest employers to pressure politicians to think twice before supporting anti-immigrant proposals. In fact, just days before the Senate voted down the bills, 60 of Arizona’s top CEOs wrote a letter to the Arizona Senate, saying that after SB 1070, “Even a business which merely had ‘Arizona’ in its name felt the effects of the boycotts.”
LUPE members contributed their granito de arena to this victory by working with local governments to pass resolutions joining the boycott and resolving against Arizona copycat legislation. These actions and many thousands like them around the country put so much pressure on Arizona businesses that they are now becoming active in stopping anti-immigrant legislation.
The vote is in no way an end to Arizona’s hateful efforts, and businesses are taking a stand against only the bills that hurt their bottom line. But it is a major defeat nonetheless. Many hours of work and many more people taking action are needed to put Arizona back on track. But communities in Arizona and outside Arizona will continue fighting, continue demanding dignity and respect for immigrants in Arizona and throughout the nation.