ASU community reacts to implementation of "papers, please" provision

A protester holds an anti SB 1070 sign during a protest Sept. 19 outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in downtown Phoenix. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

The ASU community had mixed reactions to federal judge Susan Bolton’s ruling last week that lifted the injunction on the “papers, please” provision of Arizona’s immigration law, Senate Bill 1070.

The provision, which is now in effect, requires officers to question the immigration status of anyone they suspect is not lawfully present in the country.

Chicana-Latina issues professor Sujey Vega said this decision affects ASU deeply and cannot be separated from President Barack Obama’s new immigration policy.

The policy, commonly called “mini-DREAM Act,” allows young illegal immigrants to apply for two-year deportation waivers as long as they have no criminal records, are students or have served in the military.

Despite the president’s new policy, Vega said Arizona’s immigration law has made undocumented students less likely to come forward.

She said she admires and supports the DREAMers who have joined the “undocumented and unafraid” movement.

“I give them a lot of credit, especially in an environment like Arizona,” she said.

This is not only a Latino issue, Vega said.

“I fear it makes us look bad as a state, and I fear the University is impacted by it,” she said. “Because of (SB) 1070, speakers refuse to come to ASU (and) international students think twice about enrolling. It affects all of us.”

The law targets a particular racial group regardless of whether they are actually illegal immigrants, Vega said.

“It’s a hazard for those of us who look ‘foreign,’” she said. “We know there’s a specific look they’re searching for. If the law was followed, then everybody would be checked.”

Vega said the law segregates the community.

“As a society, we need to learn how to work together,” she said. “This law only divides us.”

Joe Garcia, director of Latino Public Policy at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said SB 1070 is not enforceable.

“The underline of the ‘Show Me Your Papers’ provision is that even if you arrest someone, there’s no way to get them processed,” he said.

SB 1070 cannot be separated from the DREAM Act, Garcia said.

“Regarding ASU, you can’t talk about SB 1070 without talking about the DREAM Act,” he said. “The second will trump the first one, for sure.”

The immigration law has a psychological effect on people, Garcia said.

“It affects undocumented people who don’t know all the facts,” he said. “SB 1070 isn’t quite the legal monster we thought it would be.”

Teaching English to speakers of other languages graduate student Linda Hill said she does not consider SB 1070 discriminatory.

“People carrying papers to show their legal status is not racial profiling,” she said. “There are internationals in my family who have gone through the process to become documented.”

Hill said she supports legal immigration.

“We’re a nation of immigrants and we welcome them as long as they go it the right way,” she said.

Biochemistry junior Esequiel Olivares, the son of immigrants, said SB 1070 racially profiles people.

“It’s unfair for the little kids whose parents brought them here,” he said. “It should be enforced, but in a different manner.”

The law has impacted the Hispanic community, Olivares said.

“A lot of people have moved,” he said. “I grew up in a Hispanic community and most of them have left.”


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