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Resistance grows to Arizona’s apartheid law

Published May 1, 2010 8:01 AM

Besides the ones in Arizona itself, protests in the United States and abroad greeted a new Arizona anti-immigrant bill that was signed into law on April 23.

New York, April 23.
WW photo: John Catalinotto

In New York City on April 23, the Bail Out the People Movement demonstrated on a day’s notice in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Varick Federal Detention Facility in downtown Manhattan. Even as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law, some 50 people, including one woman whose spouse had recently been deported to Trinidad, were holding signs and chanting against racial profiling and in solidarity with immigrants’ wishes to gain legalization.

The group chanted many slogans that defended immigrants’ rights as part of the rights of all workers.

Throughout the April 24-25 weekend, government officials and public figures spoke out against the new law. President Barack Obama called the law “misguided,” and raised the possibility that the Justice Department would take some action against it. The law doesn’t go into effect until 90 days after it was signed, on July 21, if it is not overturned before then.

Obama’s criticism appears directed at gaining support for a new federal immigration law, like the one that Sen. Charles Schumer is preparing to propose. This proposed law would regulate immigration so that conditions are more stable, but in a way that is prejudicial against immigrants who don’t have legal papers and is harmful to all workers. Schumer would make legalization an onerous process with no guarantees, militarize the border and make all workers carry biometric identi-

fication cards.

Rep. Raul Grijalva from Arizona called on the president to not cooperate with the new law and also for a boycott of his state. Other public figures joined rank-and-file calls for a boycott of Arizona, including San Francisco city officials, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the editors of La Opinión — the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S.

Rank-and-file groups have targeted Arizona’s Major League Baseball team, the Diamondbacks, as part of the boycott. This provides a target for protest in every city the team is scheduled to play in, with protests already set in Chicago.

The Port Truckers held a news conference on April 24 at the downtown Federal Building in Los Angeles — which is also ICE headquarters — to announce that they would be boycotting Arizona until the legislation in repealed. They urged other truckers to do the same.