May 29 was the National Day of Action against SB 1070, the controversial Arizona immigration law that allows police to apprehend anyone based on “reasonable suspicion” that they are in this country without papers, opening the doors for racial profiling. The estimated protester turnout for the day ranges from 35,000 to more than 100,000, with solidarity actions in more than a dozen cities across the country.
A pro-SB 1070 counter-protest only yielded 5000-7000 supporters even though polls show that 70% of people in Arizona and a majority of the country supposedly favor the bill.
Protests are a great way to show solidarity, but they hardly encourage civic and voter engagement. For political honchos to do something, they either need to see the benefits or feel threatened into taking action. The right-wingers are great at making angry threatening calls. It’s about time immigrant families and supporters start doing the same, along with registering millions of eligible young people to vote.
It is duly noted that the successful implementation of SB 1070 depends on cooperation between local law enforcement and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Thus far, ICE has shown reluctance in cooperating with the Arizona law that goes into effect on July 28.
President Obama has repeatedly criticized the Arizona law but taken no steps to mitigate the negative impacts of it. He could immediately suspend all police-ICE agreements that allow local law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws but the White House would rather send troops to the border than muster the courage to lead the nation away from enforcement-only non-solutions.
In the absence of action from the federal government and given the increasing number of states crafting “get tough” legislation against immigrants, we are left with boycotts and lawsuits, which could drag on for years.
Video Credit: panleft