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Arizona activists condemn Supreme Court decision on immigration

Published Jul 6, 2012 6:48 PM

The June 25 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the “Show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law was immediately met with outrage and protest in Phoenix and Tucson.

In Phoenix, protesters descended on both the downtown office of racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio and on the state Capitol. In Tucson protesters gathered on a street corner at the intersection of the state building and the federal court building where mass deportations of “Operation Streamline” take place.

Arizona is on the front line of the anti-immigrant attack. From its beginnings as a territory stolen from Mexico, Arizona’s history is rife with racism. The destruction of historic barrios -- Latino/a neighborhoods -- paved the way for the expansion of both the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.

Arizona was one of the last states to enact a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That was only after a massive public outcry, including a boycott of the state and moving the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix, forced the legislature to act. To this day, the Tucson Unified School District is under a court-ordered desegregation plan. The desegregation order was first imposed in 1978, 24 years after segregation was outlawed, as a result of a lawsuit exposing the racist treatment and inferior education Latinos/as received in the district.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the International Action Center of Tucson issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s announcement upholding the ‘Show me your papers’ provision of SB1070 continues the assault against Arizona’s Latino and migrant communities. This ruling is not just the legalization of racial profiling, but is a green light for racism and will result in the increase of police and border patrol terror against communities of color.

“All people who are struggling to survive under the weight of the capitalist economic crisis should take note of this decision. The legalization of racial profiling by the Supreme Court will not solve any of the urgent social problems that demand attention. It will not provide jobs, health care or education for anyone. It will not fix schools, roads or other crumbling infrastructure. It will instead waste the money that could be spent on these vital social services criminalizing and jailing people who are doing nothing other than trying to survive.

“Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and notoriously racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio have been salivating over this, waiting for the opportunity to fill the for-profit prisons of their corporate friends. Arpaio has made no secret of his intent to launch checkpoints and ‘crime sweeps’ as soon as the ruling was announced, and the governor sent a training video to every law enforcement agency in the state, preparing them to enforce the provisions as soon as the court ruled on them.

“We cannot sit by and allow the state to isolate and terrorize portions of our community. We must unite with those under attack and push back the assault that is aimed at ALL people. The tactic of dividing people by skin color, religion, sexual identity or whether they possess specific documents or not is just an attempt to divert attention away from the real problem and the real criminals: the banks, the corporations and the war machine that steal more and more of the world’s wealth while they continually pit worker against worker, group against group.

“We must unite and fight back against everything that attempts to divide us. Racism, sexism, anti-gay bigotry – it all has to go. We must continue to broaden the fightback against war, racism and imperialism and for jobs, legalization, health care and education for all. As we watch events unfold in Paraguay, where another anti-people coup has taken place, it is imperative that our fight go global as well.

“Now is a good time to remember this: History shows that what matters is what happens in the streets -- not in the courts or in the White House. That is what will ultimately decide the fate of the people.

“Si se puede. The struggle continues.”