Opponents of Arizona’s new immigration law will gather in Phoenix as the law goes into effect this Thursday.
Some protesters of Senate Bill 1070 will gather at the state Capitol at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the night before the bill goes into effect.
The new law criminalizes the presence of undocumented immigrants in Arizona and is the topic of much debate amid an election year.
A Wednesday protest is being organized by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coaltion. Carlos Alvarez, the ANSWER Coalition’s Phoenix organizer, said there is an obvious target community being affected by the law—Hispanics.
“You can mask it any way you want. The reality is that it’s affecting particularly one community more than any other,” Alvarez said. “How do you come to the conclusion that someone [is] undocumented? They’re not going after Russian undocumented immigrants.”
On Thursday, when the law is implemented, opponents will march down First Avenue at 8 a.m. from Trinity Cathedral at West Roosevelt Street to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office on West Washington Street. Acts of protest and civil disobedience will follow when the demonstrators arrive.
The ANSWER Coalition, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Puente, and other groups plan to participate, with numbers coming in from all across the state and country. Over 100,000 opponents gathered to march on the capitol in May, and organizers hope to have similar attendance numbers this week.
Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said the communities are facing a moral crisis.
“Empowering states and cities to enforce federal immigration laws is a dangerous trend that led to the rise of SB 1070,” Alvarado said in a statement. “A real solution to the growing hatred and targeting of people of color requires President Obama to assert the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws.”
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a preliminary injunction against the state of Arizona on July 6, seeking to stop the law from being implemented.
Gov. Jan Brewer issued a statement criticizing the federal action, calling it “a massive waste of taxpayer funds.”
“The best thing government can do is to create a stable, predictable environment, governed by an easily understood set of rules or laws,” Brewer said in the statement. “We do not need to make this more complicated than it already is. We must first and foremost create a secure border. Enhanced trade, economic opportunity and freedom will surely follow.”
The Department of Justice’s complaint says states are not allowed to establish policies that interfere with federal immigration law.
Alvarez said even if the court stops the law from going into effect on Thursday, he and his allies will continue to make their presence felt.
“It’s not just about [Senate Bill] 1070. 1070 has really been the rally call,” Alvarez said. “There’s been a number in a series of policies that have been proposed against the immigrant community, and we’re out here to nip it in the bud.”
Alvarez said Arizona is trying to set a precedent about state rights.
“It’s not about state rights. It’s about equal rights,” Alvarez said.
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