Chandler City Hall, 2011 (Photo by Monika Barton)
Chandler Redevelopment District 2: Arizona Ave, 2011 (Photo by Monika Barton)
Chandler is a city near Phoenix, Arizona, located in the Southern part of Maricopa County. Chandler was first integrated into the state in 1920 and has been growing in population ever since. According to the National Civic Review, Chandler has tripled in population since 1990, going from 90,000 to 253,000 people in 20 years. 1 This increase is partially due to the increase of immigrants to the state of Arizona including illegal immigrants traveling up from Mexico. As a result of this increase in population, resources and jobs become a competitive issue among residents and turns into a competitive atmosphere.
July 30, 1997 was a turning point within the City of Chandler, when people within Chandler’s communities began to complain about “illegal immigrants” harassing citizens and bringing crime into their neighborhoods. 2 As a result, Chandler Police teamed up with the U.S. Border Patrol to begin interrogating people who were considered to be potential “illegal immigrants”. 2 The police went to the Chandler Redevelopment District located on Arizona Avenue between Chandler Boulevard and Pecos Road, and went around to stores, gas stations, and neighborhoods interrogating anyone, including children, on whether they were citizens of the United States. 3,4 Some people were stopped four to five times because they looked as if they were “illegal aliens” but their birth certificates said otherwise. After five days of interrogations and harassments by the Chandler Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol, 432 people were arrested, 77 of them were illegal aliens, and out of those people, 91 complained about the treatment they received. Out of those 91 complaints, only 33 were documented and from that 33, 23 people were detained with three of those people being illegal. In addition many others were appalled at the violation of civil rights and came back at the city with lawsuits for these violations.5
This event in American history shows the problems that Mexican Americans face within the United States and how the “third border”, which is the segregation of a people within a community, was created within the Chandler community. Unfortunately, this third border exists more prominently today as American citizens try to eliminate so-called “illegal aliens” through laws such as SB 1070. This law was amended recently so that police enforcement could only ask for papers from an individual if they were already being cited for another illegal act, however, there is still room for racial profiling and nitpicking on the officer’s part. In the end, Arizona is pushing for more and more racial profiling and not allowing Mexican American citizens to be a part of the community even though they are legal citizens. They are not only doing this through laws, but they are also doing this through the media and enforcing this idea that Mexicans of any type are not acceptable in American society. In the end, this is more detrimental to American neighborhoods rather than allowing the Mexicans to live and support the surrounding communities.
- Monika Barton, Emily Cano, and Clifford Chen
1. Bigos, D. (2010). Chandler, arizona: Telling our story. National Civic Review, (Winter), 26-
33. doi: 10.1002/ncr.20034
2. Chavez, K. R. (2009). Embodied translation: Dominant discourse and communication with
migrant bodies-as-text. The Howard Journal of Communications, 20, 18-36. doi: 10.1080/10646170802664912
3. Katz, C., Webb, V., & Schaefer, D. (2000). An assessment of the
chandler police department's operation restoration. Unpublished manuscript, Administration of Justice, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona.
4. Pellerin, M. (2011). Entertainment district planned in chandler.
Retrieved from http://www.phoenixhomes.com/news/east-valley/entertainment-district-planned-chandler
5. Romero, M. (2006). Racial profiling and immigration law enforcement: Rounding up of
usual suspects in the latino community. Critical Sociology, 32(2-3), 447-473. doi: 10.1163/156916306777835376