Monday, May 2, 2011

Downtown Phoenix - SB 1070 Protest

May 20, 2010 "Alto Arizona" protest taking place at the Arizona State Capitol building (
Flyer pronoting the "Stop Arizona" rally (

From Steele Indian School Park to the Arizona State Capitol Building (1700 W. Washington St, Phoenix, Arizona)
The state of Arizona has been the boiling pot of recent Immigration Policies due to its close proximity to the United States-Mexico Border.  New policies such as Senate Bill 1070, included provisions that obligate police officers to question people of on their citizenship status based on reasonable suspicion. This ignited social movements between both pro-immigration and anti-immigration supporters.  SB 1070 supporters argued it enforced the federal law at a state level. However, anti-SB1070 protesters, specifically Latinos, felt targeted as a group by the law because it promoted racial profiling by law enforcement. The signing of the bill by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010 instantly garnered national attention and brought its constitutionality into question. State Judge, John Noonan explains the issue, "For those sympathetic to immigrants to the United States, it is a challenge and a chilling foretaste of what other states might attempt. For those burdened by unlawful immigration, it suggests how a state could tackle that problem. It is not our function, however, to evaluate the statute as a symbol. We are asked to assess the constitutionality." (Arizona State Republic, Block on SB 1070 Upheld). Several major protests erupted in Arizona’s State Capitol shortly after its passage. Thousands of protesters marched five miles towards the state capitol on May 29, 2010 to protest against the controversial bill, making the city of Phoenix a catalyst for immigration protests throughout the nation.
The protest started at Steele Indian School Park and ended at the Arizona State Capitol Building located on 1700 W. Washington St, Phoenix, Arizona.  The protest recognized as “Alto Arizona” or “Stop Arizona” emphasized the bill as a stepping stone towards racialization because it portrayed all “Latino” people as being illegal; Thus, having the potential to bring change to the current racial formation of Latino citizens and illegal immigrants in America.  By passing the law, the Arizona State Government along with the majority of its citizens expressed to the nation their discontent and negative view towards Latino immigrants. Consequently, re-enforcing the barriers faced by undocumented immigrants in society; also known as, the Tercera Frontera (Third Border). This view was exposed in other states with the possibility of creating a negative image towards all Latinos in America. However, the immigrant rights activist fought back by creating a massive protest against Arizona policy. The State Capitol symbolized the struggle of Latino and immigrant identity in the United States creating a “Brown Spatial Imaginary”.  In conclusion, barriers set forth by the Tercera Frontera such as SB 1070 and other anti-immigrant policies continue to develop the consequence of being “brown” in America.
- Orlando Menjivar, Andrew Candelaria, and Chris Rutherford

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