Arizona anti-immigrant law sparks outrage, fightback
By Paul Teitelbaum
Apr 24, 2010
April 23 — When the Arizona Senate passed a sweeping, racist
anti-immigrant bill on April 19, it unleashed a firestorm of outrage from
Arizona’s oppressed communities. The bill legalizes racial profiling and
criminalizes all undocumented people as “trespassers.” It also
contains provisions attacking day laborers, allows for the seizure of any
vehicle used to transport an undocumented person, and calls for the arrest of
anyone who provides assistance to an undocumented person.
Gov. Jane Brewer signed the bill into law today, April 23. It is only the
first in a stream of right-wing sponsored racist bills that are working their
way through the Arizona legislature.
A few days earlier, on April 15, some 800 or more Department of Homeland
Security and other federal agents descended on Tucson’s oppressed
communities. The feds terrorized families, stopping buses transporting children
to school and setting up what amounted to a six-hour military occupation of the
south side of the city.
Leilani Clark arrested
for supporting justice.
In response to this repression, a group of nine community college students
from throughout Arizona courageously chained themselves to the State Capitol
building in Phoenix on April 20. The students refused to leave until Gov.
Brewer vetoed the bill. The nine are calling for a national movement to employ
nonviolent civil disobedience as the next phase of the Immigrant Rights
While carrying out civil disobedience, the students were arrested by
Maricopa County deputies and hauled off to the jail run by the infamous
anti-immigrant Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now known throughout the state as
the Capitol Nine, the students were released early April 21.
Leilani Clark, a Pima Community College student and member of Fight
Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), was one of the nine students arrested. She
said that the struggle against Senate Bill 1070 and all of Arizona’s
apartheid legislation demands a statewide and national response.
Clark encouraged everyone to take action. Speaking on behalf of the Capitol
9, Clark told Workers World, “Don’t be divided or delayed by
different interpretations of how to act — just act. Walk out, protest,
educate, boycott, march, sit in, carry out civil disobedience. Anything and
In a news release published April 20, this is what the Nine said about SB
“Among other things, the bill would require law enforcement officers
to investigate, detain and arrest people if there is ‘reasonable
suspicion’ that a person may be undocumented. This would give police
agents absolute power to racially profile on the basis of race, skin color,
language, and/or accent. SB 1070 is only the latest attack that will turn
Arizona into an apartheid state, where brown-skinned people are politically,
legally and economically discriminated and segregated.”
Protests continue in the thousands
By the afternoon of April 20, about 100 people gathered in downtown Tucson
to protest SB 1070 and to demand that the governor veto the bill. The next day,
some 200 high school students walked out of class to protest the bill. There
are rallies and demonstrations planned throughout the city for each of the next
On April 22 thousands protested outside the Capitol in Phoenix, and other
actions took place April 23 in Phoenix and Flagstaff demanding that Brewer veto
the bill. Students, including many high school students, held a demonstration
April 23 in Tucson, walking out of school to do it.
In their statement, the Capitol Nine explained the importance of their
action: “Arizona is ground zero for apartheid legislation and it must
also be ground zero for organized action. ... A people can only remain
oppressed for so long before they rise from the shadows, from the margins, from
oblivion. This is why today, students and community members have resorted to
Nonviolent Civil Disobedience. We chain ourselves to the Arizona State Capitol
because nothing else has worked. We stand for justice and reclaim democracy.
Our purpose is to expose Arizona’s apartheid legislation and uphold our
dignity and human rights.”
Nine brave students chained themselves to the Az State Capitol on April 20, 2010 to send Gov. Brewer a message: VETO APARTHEID BILL SB 1070.
They were all arrested and hauled off to Sheriff Arpaio's jail.