How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Five things to read on the one-year anniversary of SB 1070

Photo by mattlocks923/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A year ago Saturday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the controversial measure known as SB 1070. Among other things, this stringent anti-illegal immigration law was to empower local police to check the immigration status of people they stopped if there was "reasonable suspicion" to believe they were in the country illegally, make it necessary for immigrants to carry their documents, and made it difficult to hire or work as a day laborer.

Numerous parties filed suit, including the federal government on the grounds that the measure was pre-empted by federal law. The law's most contested provisions were blocked by a federal judge on the eve of its implementation last July 29, though many provisions - including the day labor portion - still went into effect. People protested and an economic boycott of the state ensued. Still, even as parts of SB 1070 remained hung up in court, it could be said that the law set the stage for the tone of immigration politics during the year that followed.

Over the past several days there have been countless news reports and opinions published surrounding the one-year anniversary of what has been the most controversial state immigration measure since 1994's failed Proposition 187 in California. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • The Arizona Republic had a one-year-later report accompanied by a comprehensive timeline listing important milestones in the life of the Arizona law so far.

  • A piece in New American Media explored the strengthening of immigrant networks in the state, although some fed-up Latinos have left Arizona since the law went into effect.

  • In an interview last week with the Arizona Daily Star, Brewer and SB 1070 sponsor state Sen. Russell Pearce talked about why they believe the embattled law has still been a success; Pearce said undocumented immigrants are "leaving in caravans."

  • The advocacy journalism website ColorLines pointed out in a piece that while much of the spotlight was on Arizona after SB 1070, it's the federal government that has been carrying out record numbers of deportations.

  • Earlier this month, after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld last July's federal ruling blocking parts of the law, a post on Multi-American looked at how no matter where SB 1070 winds up in court, it already has left its mark on immigration politics.

There have also been some good radio reports on SB 1070, including a special report last Friday from Phoenix's KJZZ on the law and its aftermath in the state. NPR's "All Things Considered" also recapped a year of SB 1070 last week.
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