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Federal judge puts a hold on most of Arizona’s SB1070

The struggle against racist anti-immigrant laws continues
By Fight Back! Editors |
August 3, 2010
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On July 28, Federal Judge Susan Bolton placed an injunction on most of Arizona’s SB1070 until a Federal Court of Appeals rules on whether the state law is legal under the U.S. Constitution. The Court of Appeals case is now set to begin in November.

The editors of Fight Back! see this as a temporary and partial victory for the people’s struggle. Arizona’s SB1070, which would have made being undocumented a state crime (it is not a federal crime), met with a wave a protest centered in the Chicano and Mexicano community of Arizona. In April thousands protested the bill when it passed the state legislature and demanded that Arizona’s Republican governor veto the bill. When Arizona Governor Brewer signed the bill, a boycott Arizona movement was launched. There was a massive protest on May 29 in Phoenix that drew more than 100,000 people. Protests in Arizona and around the country were organized for July 29, the day that SB1070 was to go into effect.

We see the people’s movement against SB1070 as the political basis for the federal court injunction. As such, Judge Bolton’s injunction was a victory for the movement, as it put on hold some of the worst features of SB1070 which would have made undocumented into criminals, required local police to check the immigration status of people they regarded as ‘suspicious’ and make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for work.

At the same time this victory is both temporary and limited, and the struggle against SB1070 and other racist, anti-immigrant laws must continue. Judge Bolton’s injunction on most of the law only prevents it from being implemented until a full panel of federal appeals judges can hear the case and make a ruling. Right-wing and racist anti-immigrant forces will make a big effort to convince the court to allow the law to stand. Forces in Arizona such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio are vowing to continue their crackdown on the Chicano and Mexicano communities, SB1070 or no. We need to continue to build the people’s movement against SB1070 and not have any illusions that the federal courts will stop the right wing.

There is a long history of federal courts upholding laws against African Americans, Chicanos and Mexicanos, Asian Americans and other oppressed nationalities. The Supreme Court upheld southern Jim Crow segregation laws and the incarceration of Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court never ruled against the forced repatriation of tens of thousands of Mexicanos and Chicanos to Mexico during the 1930s.

The injunction also allows major parts of SB1070 to go into effect. To try to prevent undocumented from getting work, it is now a crime to impede traffic to hire day laborers. While the federal government says that it was legal for big banks to use their bail out moneys from the government to pay huge bonuses to the same CEOs that helped to almost destroy the economy, it now says that it is illegal for hard-working immigrants to get a job? Outrageous! The judge also allowed the ban on transporting undocumented to stand, a huge loophole that will allow local police to target Chicanos and Mexicanos who are driving undocumented family members.

Last, but not least, the right wing is trying to copy and expand Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws across the country at the state and local levels. In California, home to the largest Chicano and Mexicano community in the country, the billionaire right-wing Republican candidate for governor and former E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman has attacked undocumented college students who now can pay in-state tuition if they are residents. The struggle against these racist laws and politicians must continue to build.

Continue the fight against Arizona’s SB1070 and all racist anti-immigrant laws!

Boycott Arizona!

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