Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By Denise Tejada
To find out what Arizona's new immigration law means for national community organizing efforts, Youth Radio spoke to Community Empowerment Coordinator and attorney Renee Saucedo, from La Raza Centro Legal.
In Arizona, walking to the corner store, or simply driving, can lead to arrests for undocumented immigrants. Bill 1070 gives authorities in the state of Arizona the right to detain, arrest and report a person to immigration, if they suspect the person is in this country illegally. It also makes transporting an illegal immigrant a crime--and that includes giving someone a ride.
Attorney Saucedo said she and her colleagues got to work as soon as Arizona's Governor Jane Brewer signed the bill. "Immigrant advocates of course were horrified by the passage of this law. But some said, at least this might push the debate around passing some kind of immigration reform or legalization law."
But according to Saucedo, it's up to immigrants to change the course of the national conversation. She says anti-immigrants' voices are much louder right now and "if our communities--mainly immigrant communities--organized and demand that a legalization law passed as a solution, then I think it's very possible."
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Even before it passed, Arizona's law sparked protests throughout the country. A group of Arizona students who came to be known as "The Capital 9" was arrested for disorderly conduct after the young people chained themselves to Arizona's capital building. Now, community members, students, and supporters against the new law have gathered throughout the country to protest against one of the toughest immigration laws to date.
Celebrities have publicly come out against the law too. Rap artist Pitbull recently canceled his show in Phoenix. The Cuban artist made the announcement via Facebook and Twitter. "I am canceling my concert in Phoenix on May 31... How is the country we enjoy and love bcuz of its human rights, freedom, opportunity and that has been built by immigrants, now start 2 deny them??.. It is contradicting 2 everything the USA stands 4...."
Renee Saucedo says the law is currently being challenged and thinks it stands a pretty good chance of being struck down legally. But she says that doesn't mean the fight should end: "If they didn't write a law this time that passed constitutional muster, then they'll do it again, and they'll keep doing until they get it right, if they think we're not going to respond."Also from Youth Radio-Youth Media International
- Cal students against Arizona's Immigration Law
- Immigration and Appalachia
- March for Immigration Reform
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