Monday, May 31, 2010

Anti-SB 1070 Demonstration Rocks Phoenix, Marchers Number in the Tens of Thousands

El Diablo, Joe Arpaio, and Jan Brewer torture a migrant

Despite threats of disruption from extremist elements, Saturday's anti-SB 1070 demonstration produced a diverse, spirited crowd of anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 that walked some five miles to the Arizona state Capitol without incident.

The Phoenix PD made no arrests, and there was no clash between anarchists and cops, as there was back in January for a large anti-Arpaio march. This demonstration dwarfed that one many times over.

Pretty much says it all...

Phoenix police officers I spoke with estimated the crowd at 25,000 to 30,000 coming out of Steele Indian School Park, where it began. Organizers put the final number at 100,000, and though I usually err on the side of conservative crowd estimates, in this case after looking at aerial shots of the marchers, I'm inclined to think the organizers were closer to the mark.

After zigzagging its way down Third Street and Central Avenue, the crowd made its way west on Washington Street, ending at the Capitol where various speakers and performing acts ascended a massive stage set directly before the old Capitol building, with its copper dome and Winged Victory weather vane.

Attendees were looking for victory of another sort -- victory over Arizona's new "papers please" legislation, signed into law last month by Governor Jan Brewer.

As former state Senate majority leader Alfredo Gutierrez pointed out, the demonstration was more a pep rally than anything for the "Freedom Summer" that groups inside and outside of Arizona are planning -- a campaign aimed at registering new voters and organizing the Hispanic community.

He ain't El Santo, but he'll do

"This is about preaching to the choir," Gutierrez admitted. "We're not protesting anything. People are having one hell of a great time, except for a few people who had a bad upbringing."

Some of those "few" were represented by Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, who took up a position with a fellow white supremacist across from the crowd, bearing giant Confederate and American flags and sidearms, of course. Ready was protected by a cordon of cops, and was watched over by several observers from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready (right) gets into it with a Native American as a DOJ observer looks on

Ready got into arguments with a few folks while praising Adolf Hitler as a great "white civil rights" leader. But he was unable to provoke anyone, despite one hot moment with a young Native American man, whom he insulted repeatedly and told to go dance around naked, stuff like that. A friend of the man soon came by and pulled him away.

I asked Ready about photos I'd seen recently on the Web site of Maricopa, Arizona neo-Nazi Harry Hughes -- ones of Ready and Hughes in camouflage, on "patrol" in the desert for illegal aliens, armed with assault rifles.

I couldn't help but ask: Had Ready ever shot at or killed anyone while on such a patrol? After all, there's been other footage of him down on the border with heavy firepower.

Also, Ready was court-martialed twice, drummed out of the Marines, and has a criminal record. He once shot at an illegal immigrant in 2006. This, while Ready was running for Mesa City Council. The other guy was armed with a BB gun, Ready with a .38. Neither man was injured, though the illegal immigrant was arrested. Hardly seems fair.

Say it loud, and then get thyself to the voting booth

Ready answered my question cryptically, saying, "I can neither confirm or deny the statement." When I pressed him, telling him that was an odd way of answering such a query, he simply repeated himself.

Interestingly, both Harry Hughes and fellow neo-Nazi Scott Hume attended the pro-SB 1070 rally at Tempe's Diablo Stadium later the same day. (You can read more about Scott Hume, here.) Neo-Nazis at a pro-SB 1070 bash? Man, those nativists are full of surprises.

Nearby Ready, a little street theater ensued, with a quartet decked out as El Diablo, Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, and a Mexican guy in handcuffs. El Diablo hailed Ready as a comrade.

"I'm with you guys," he told Ready and the other white supremacist."You're my man!"

Then he turned to "Brewer," nearly salivating. "Look at my baby girl right here," he said as she primped herself. They then proceeded to torture the Mexican dude who was on his knees in cuffs.

"What don't you understand about illegal?" wondered El Diablo. "I drew the line in the sand. I'm the one that creates the border. I'm the one that enforces the law."

Crude, but funny, in a Punch and Judy sort of way.

Over on the stage, the bill lacked the big names of previous marches and rallies. There was no Zack de la Rocha this time. No Linda Ronstadt. And Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez didn't show as planned. Nor did any Arizona Congressmen make appearances.

Instead, the big draw was Mexican-American recording artist Jenni Rivera, who was much beloved by the crowd. She pretty much summed up the law and its supporters at one point.

Songstress Jenni Rivera on pro-1070 types: "They're haters, baby."

"What this law is trying to do is not only trying to separate families," she told the audience. "They're trying to discriminate, to single us out. They're haters, baby."

You got that right, Jenni. Big-time haters.

Rivera's show actually concluded the program. But there were a string of others on the mic before she closed things out. Hip-hop artist Olmeca gave a fiery performance. And there were numerous speakers, including Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who received one of the friendliest receptions, leading the crowd in chants of "Si, se puede!"

"Let's call out to the [U.S.] Attorney General and the President of the United States," he said, "to please come to and file that lawsuit to stop this law now. Let your voices be heard!"

Nice contrast to state AG Terry Goddard, who on Friday said he would "vigorously defend" the law if the feds seek an injunction to keep the law from going into effect.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called on the President to protect the civil rights of all Arizonans, and for Congress to pass immigration reform immediately.
The view from the stage on Saturday...

He also spoke of union solidarity with immigrant workers.

"In the labor movement we only really ask one question of anyone," he said. "That question is not where are your papers, that question is what side are you on?"

Tohono O'odham tribal member Mike Wilson, whom I wrote about earlier this year in my cover story "Blood's Thicker Than Water," had a great line about SB 1070.

"Racial profiling did not start last month," he told everyone. "Racial profiling began in 1492."

Wilson also attacked the O'odham Nation itself for being anti-immigrant.

"I am embarrassed to say that my own Tohono O'odham Nation is not a friend of the immigrant," he intoned, adding, "Forty-two percent of all Latino migrant deaths are on the nation. [Fellow humanitarian and tribal member] David Garcia and I put out water on the nation so that the migrants do not die.

"And yet the Tohono O'odham government removes, destroys or confiscates my water stations."

Not surprisingly, the most invigorating speech came from Pastor Warren Stewart of the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, who has spoken at previous rallies and has been working tirelessly to unify the African-American and Hispanic communities over this issue.

As if addressing his congregants, he told the marchers, "We will not let our enemies turn back the clock to a day when we were judged by the color of our skin, and not the content of our character."

He received thunderous applause when he informed the crowd that, "God is on our side as we fight for justice, liberty, equality for all people regardless of their color, and regardless of their country, regardless of their language.

"President Obama, hear us from Arizona. God put you in the White House, you are a person of color, stand with us!"

With that kind of oratory, Stewart could almost turn this atheist into a believer. Almost.

Still, even if it isn't a divine presence, there is something on the side of the anti-SB 1070 folks: History. Despite the efforts of the nativists and the haters to divide and Balkanize the country, the trend in America is toward inclusiveness and diversity. That's why the haters are almost all white, and the anti-SB 1070 campaign is a patchwork quilt of colors, ages, faiths, and ethnicities.

In other words, the army of hate is outnumbered and destined to lose. This will not happen without struggle and disappointments. And it will not happen overnight. But the pro-SB 1070 extremists have a date with history's dustbin, just like the segregationists, slave owners, and apartheid-supporters of old.

Friday, May 28, 2010

9 arrested during Santa Barbara immigration rally

The Associated Press
Thursday, May 27, 2010; 6:02 PM

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Police say nine people have been arrested during an immigration protest rally in Santa Barbara.

Activist Nayra Pacheco says those arrested Thursday included eight University of California, Santa Barbara, students and one professor.

Police Lt. Doug Kresky says the activists refused to leave an intersection after an unlawful assembly was declared. He says they occupied the intersection for more than 45 minutes.

Kresky also says between 150 and 200 people took part in the rally, which called for repeal of Arizona's immigration law. They want the city council to declare Santa Barbara a sanctuary for immigrants and to stop doing business with Arizona companies.

The Arizona law requires that police ask people about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they're in the country illegally. The law also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

Students, families prepare to leave Arizona because of SB 1070

The teacher had a geology question for sixth-graders at Phoenix Collegiate Academy.

She asked Thursday morning if anybody could explain a "divergent boundary," a principle in plate tectonics.

Noemi raised her hand and answered: "It's when two plates move away from each other."

It seemed a fitting description for what is happening in her life.

In the fall, Noemi's friends and classmates will move in one direction and she will move in another.

Noemi was born in Arizona and is a legal resident, but her parents are not. As pressure on illegal immigrants rises, her parents have decided they can't stay in Arizona.

Sometime before school begins again in August, they will move to New Mexico.

The last day of school is typically one of joy. This year is more complicated.

The passage of Senate Bill 1070, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally, has raised anxiety among immigrant families. And, as the school year ends, more children are realizing they won't be coming back.

Moving to Mexico

Francisco's last day in the Creighton School District was Thursday. His last day in the United States will be sometime in late June. His family is moving to Guadalajara, Mexico.

"It's been a sad day," Francisco said. "Last year, the last day of school was fun. Not this year."

Francisco, 12, his older brother and younger sister were born in Phoenix. His brother is finishing his freshman year at Arcadia High School.

The Arizona Republic is not using their last names to protect their identities.

But now, they are moving to where his parents moved from 15 years ago.

"It's hard to say goodbye to people. These are my best friends," Francisco said. "I'm going to be leaving to Mexico. It's a big change, but it's part of life."

'50 families'

Rosemary Agneessens, principal at Creighton Elementary School, has been writing letters of introduction for students like Francisco who may need them at new schools.

"I've got 50 families with a story like that," she said.

Francisco's parents, Juan and Maria, are confident their son will be able to make the adjustments in school. Juan has been using the Internet to check test scores at different schools in Guadalajara.

But they are worried about him leaving his friends. Francisco is a quiet, shy boy. He has two best friends, his classmates Ricardo and Jose.

"They understand, but they are sort of (quiet) like me," Francisco said. "The three of us have been best friends for as long as I can remember."

Juan and Maria are aware of the irony of their decision. They moved to this country, in part, so their children could have a better life. Now, they are taking them from the only country they have ever known.

"But there are not any other options," Maria, crying, said in Spanish. "We came together as a family and talked. And my sons told me they would not want to see me arrested."

Moving out of state

It's hard for a sixth-grader to be stoic when grown-up events like a new state law seem to be taking away your friends.

"I want to tell her mom not to move," Estephania de la Cruz said while hugging Noemi after science class at their south Phoenix charter school. "She's so kind and nice, she's like an angel."

Noemi, her brother and their parents don't want to move, but Noemi's mother, Luz Maria, said the economy and political climate are forcing her.

Both parents fear arrest and deportation.

When business slowed, Luz Maria lost her job at a bakery where she worked for nine years, and her husband's tow-truck business has been waning.

"It's hard right now, and it's going to get worse," Luz Maria said. "It's hard for me, but it's much harder because it affects my children."

Noemi cries every time she talks about leaving Phoenix. She will miss her friends, she said, and her school and her teachers. But mostly her friends.

Today, the last day of school, will be particularly dramatic. "I love my friends. I've been friends with Jacquelin my whole life."

The two of them sat on the floor in the hallway at Phoenix Collegiate Academy.

Jacquelin's mother used to watch Noemi when the girls were just toddlers.

They said they will miss talking. And playing tag. And fixing each other's hair.

"When we were kids, we used to do each other's hair a lot," Jacquelin said. "Now, I won't have anybody to do my hair."

Schools: Immigrant families leaving Arizona because of new immigration law

Reports are surfacing around the Valley that illegal-immigrant families with school-age children are fleeing Arizona because of a new immigration law.

Some school officials say enough parents and students have told them they plan to leave the state this summer to indicate Hispanic enrollment could drop at some schools. But there's no way to know exactly how many illegal immigrants will depart because schools do not inquire about a student's or a family's legal status.

Many Latino-heavy school districts say the recession already has pushed many of their families out of state to look for work. The passage of Senate Bill 1070, which widens enforcement of immigration law, has tipped the balance for some parents who tried to stick it out.

For schools, the impact could be loss of students and, as a result, loss of state funding and parent support. The state could see savings.

Despite signs of an exodus, the picture remains murky.

Teachers and principals at Alhambra elementary schools in west Phoenix, for example, are saying goodbye to core volunteer parents, who tell them that the new migration law threatens their family stability and that they must leave. The district expects the new law to drive out an extra 200 to 300 students over the summer.

Balsz Elementary District in east Phoenix lost 70 families in the past 30 days, an unprecedented number, officials said.

In contrast, Isaac Elementary District in Phoenix, where 96 percent of its 8,058 students are Latino, lost fewer students than usual after its Christmas break, and its May enrollment grew by 20 students over last year.

At Balsz, a sense of community is fraying. Every morning for the past two years, 20 to 30 parents in orange T-shirts have gathered at designated spots to walk their children to four elementary schools.

The number of those parents, mostly Latino, began to dwindle in January after the migration bill was introduced. By spring, no one was showing up. The district's "Walking School Bus Club" ceased to exist.

Those parents were too fearful to walk the streets, parents and school officials say. Some were busy packing for a move.

"I became their friend, and saying goodbye is never easy," said Rosemarie Garcia, the district's parent liaison and organizer of the walking club.

The impact debate

Driving out illegal immigrants is the stated purpose of Senate Bill 1070. Arizona's immigration law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. It states that an officer engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest shall, when practicable, ask about a person's legal status when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally.

There is no precise count of Arizona schoolchildren who live with families that have one or more undocumented members.

About 170,000 of Arizona's 1 million K-12 students are children of immigrants and include both citizens and non-citizens, according to a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center study.

For every net decline of one student, a school loses an average of $4,404 in state money. The total amount of funding for the 170,000 children of immigrants is about $749 million, or 16 percent, of the state's education budget.

Arizona schools Superintendent Tom Horne said he can't predict the impact of the new law on enrollment but expects little.

A sizable loss of undocumented families could reduce crowding in some schools and allow others to combine classrooms and reduce teaching staff, said Matthew Ladner, research director for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, which has not taken a stance on the law.

"It would actually help the state's balance sheet down the road and would lessen the burden on the general fund," Ladner said.

School officials, however, say that if many immigrant families leave, their schools will suffer.

Losing a share of students does not yield commensurate cost savings for schools, they said. For example, losing 10 students at the third-grade level often won't necessarily save a teacher's salary, and the district must still pay for property maintenance.

Already hit by state budget cuts, schools that lose per-student funding may not be able to pay for manageable class sizes, reading specialists and tutoring.

"When you lose kids, you lose money," Balsz Superintendent Jeffrey Smith said. "It gives you less to work with."

Smith said the only way his district could save money would be to crowd students into four schools and shut down the district's fifth campus.

"It would make us more cost-effective and it would cost less to run them. But I hope that doesn't happen," Smith said.

Another impact is a loss of a sense of community.

Smith talked about the issue while sitting in Brunson-Lee Elementary, which has 435 students.

"This is a walking school," he said. "If this school ever goes down, all these kids would have to be bused farther away.

"So, the parents would be less likely to get to the school to support the school."

What schools say

Although the last day of school is usually joyful, this year, some schools fear what may happen this summer.

Worry has spread through the sprawling, 14,538-student Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix, which has lost about 2.5 percent, or about 363 students, a year since 2008. That's when a new law took effect that made it more difficult for employers to hire undocumented workers and the recession began ripping away jobs in earnest.

Latino students make up 75 percent of Alhambra's enrollment. Before SB 1070 became law, families in which one parent was legal could still survive. But jobs remain tight, and now, any undocumented family member can be deported after getting a traffic ticket.

Volunteers are dwindling, and fewer parents are showing up for parent coaching and teacher meetings, Alhambra Superintendent Jim Rice said. This summer, the district expects to lose twice as many students, Rice added.

"Our children have been here since they were 1 year old or 2 years old, and they are ready to go to high school," he said. "That's what makes it tough."

Other districts are not sure what to expect when school resumes in August.

• Mesa Public Schools, the state's largest unified district, has 67,749 students, and Latino students make up 37.5 percent. It anticipates a decrease of 1,500 students, similar to losses over the past four years. It blames a combination of new immigration laws, including SB 1070, and the recession.

• Paradise Valley Unified District in Phoenix, where nearly a quarter of its 33,431 students are Latino, hasn't seen a large drop in total enrollment.

"A lot of our students go to Mexico for the summer, and we're speculating they may not come back," spokeswoman Judi Willis said. "But we don't know."

• Enrollment at Glendale Union High School District, where about half of its 14,940 students are Latino, has held steady, but the number of students signing up for English-language summer school has fallen. High-school districts are less likely to feel the loss because older kids are more likely to stay behind with friends and relatives, said Craig Pletenik, spokesman for Phoenix Union High School, where more than three-fourths of the district's 25,083 students are Latino. "Our kids are older, and closer to the educational finish line." The district hasn't seen a dip in enrollment.

• Teachers at Deer Valley Unified District report that high-school students worry about the new law because their parents are talking about a possible family move. The district lost 200 students two years ago, mainly because of the employer-sanctions law, spokeswoman Sandi Hicks said.

For now, there is no sign of a big change, Hicks said. "They're in school. They haven't left yet." About 15 percent of Deer Valley's 36,498 students are Latino.

• At Isaac Elementary, district spokesman Abedón Fimbres said the district's enrollment declined for several years, then leveled off and grew slightly this year. He said that because the district has the lowest-cost housing of central-city districts, families have fled to its neighborhoods as they lost jobs and income.

Social impact

Claudia Suriano is sitting with four fellow school volunteers at Brunson-Lee Elementary in Phoenix's Balsz district. She is among three who are leaving the state. Two others say their families are still debating.

Suriano is a Phoenix mother of two whose husband just quit a good job as a roofer after five years.

While he has survived atop Valley houses for five summers, he could not stand the heat of the new immigration law.

"He feels so stressed that he's not a citizen. He feels it's going to catch up to him," said Suriano, 27, who also is undocumented. "He speaks excellent English, but he feels a pressure they're going to find out what his status is here, and it's too great a weight for him."

Suriano's husband has been in New Mexico for two weeks, looking for an apartment and a job. She is packing up their Phoenix apartment. "He tells me over in New Mexico, it is like here when we first came: There is no fear and they treat you like human beings."

She tries to explain to her two children, one of whom is not a citizen, why the family must leave after six years.

"They're just innocent children," she said. "The older one - he's 9 - says, 'Mommy, I have my friends here and my school.' They don't understand what in the world is going on."

Reporter Ronald J. Hansen contributed to this article.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

END BORDER MILITARIZATION CONTINGENT @ 05.29.10 National Day of Action Against SB1070 in PHX

National Day of Action Against SB1070
May 29, 2010

O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective sends you greetings from occupied O'odham lands,

We urge all who support indigenous nations and migrant communities to join us on Saturday May 29th at the National Day of Action Against SB1070 to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tear families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.

This contingent is in support of the O'odham elders, and other indigenous elders that will be leading the march. It is a follow-up to last Friday’s (May 21st) Peaceful Occupation of the US Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson, AZ. We hope to use this formation to voice the end of border militarization and racist, colonial laws that attack not just indigenous communities, but migrant ones too. We hope to project true Indigenous/Migrant solidarity in the face of the state's police oppression, and the immigration reform movement’s suppressive tactics to further marginalize the indigenous voice in border policies and colonial laws that affect us all.

The contingent also calls on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin.

The contingent demands:
• An end to border militarization
• The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g
• An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of communities of color
• No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
• No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
• No to comprehensive immigration reform that further militarizes the border or exploits migrant labor
• No Deportations
• No Raids
• No ID-verification
• No Checkpoints

• Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
• Yes to human rights
• Yes to dignity
• Yes to respect
• Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration

Support looks like:
• Banners calling for an end to border militarization,for migrant/indigenous solidarity, and drawing the connection between racist laws like SB1070/287g/HB2281, immigration reform and the destruction of indigenous and migrant communities.
• Noise makers, puppets and other visuals, etc.
•Cop Watching, video documentation, legal observation of the contingent and the march to ensure safety in light of police repression
•Medics prepared for sun exposure, dehydration, police attacks
•Our own “security” – not to police our people, but to deescalate the police, step-in as a barrier in case of a police attack, help people cross the street, etc.
•People who can flyer/lecture expressing our message.

Join us on Friday, May 28th to help prepare for the following day. Bring materials to finish making signs, banners, noise makers, etc. To connect, let us know you're down, meet up with us on Friday, if you have any questions or for more information, contact Alex Soto @ 602.881.6027 or Ned @323.541.2352 or stopbordermilitarization@g

Please check out for more info.

5/27/10 - 8 People Arrested in Civil Disobedience in Santa Barbara

There are 8 compas being held at Santa Barbara County Jail, 4436 Calle Real, for protesting against Arizona anti-immigrant laws. People are gathering there for moral support, they are expected to be released at midnight.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Radical Resistance: The Bird Lauds One of the Bolder Acts of Civil Disobedience Arizona's Seen Recently


In one of the boldest acts of civil disobedience of late, a group of Native American, Mexican-American, and white activists occupied U.S. Border Patrol offices at Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on May 21, locking themselves around a pillar in a lobby that was soon filled with shocked Border Patrol agents.

Six of the demonstrators bound themselves together using pieces of PVC pipe around their arms and u-shaped bicycle locks around their necks. A banner was hoisted in front of the lobby's desk reading "Stop Militarization on Indigenous Lands Now."

The protesters had decorated the PVC with slogans such as, "No Militarization of the Border," and "Stop SB 1070." They chanted, sang songs, prayed, and even did freestyle raps, as befuddled BP agents tried to figure out what to do with them.

"It's very empowering to be in a room with 30 officers and know they can't do shit to you," Alex Soto, a Tohono O'odham tribesman and Phoenix group member told me after the action. "It was definitely going to take some force to get us out of there. Force they did not want to use."

Ultimately, the Border Patrol called the Tucson Police Department, and a settlement was negotiated. The demonstrators agreed to leave after 3 1/2 hours. They were arrested, cited for trespassing and disorderly conduct, then released.

Soto, who's working on a degree in American Indian studies at ASU, is originally from Sells, the O'odham Nation's capital, where much of his family still lives. He said this act of "peaceful resistance" was meant to broaden the debate over what's been going on in Arizona in the wake of Governor Jan Brewer's signing Sand Land's new "papers, please" legislation.

"It's not just about one bill or one sheriff," Soto told me, making reference to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Our voices are always being marginalized. So we felt the need to take action."

The occupation of the Border Patrol HQ was meant as a challenge not only to Secretary Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security, of which the Border Patrol is a part, but also to the immigration-reform movement itself.

Soto decried what he insists is a trade-off that reform activists are willing to make: increased border security and a border wall in return for a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented residing in the United States.

"We want no walls, no racist, colonial laws that affect people of color, people who come here out of forced migration because of [economics]," he said.

The 24-year-old aspiring hip-hop artist also questioned the Border Patrol's heavy hand on the O'odham Nation, where thousands of migrants cross regularly, and where Border Patrol agents — with their checkpoints in and out of the reservation and their seemingly ever-present vehicles — make O'odham tribal land resemble a police state.

"How are we a sovereign nation when we have an occupying army patrolling our lands, while we're just trying to live?" wondered Soto.

That's a good question, one with no ready answer.

I would also note that it's highly ironic that an agency such as the Border Patrol, which supposedly guards the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border using barriers, helicopters, nighttime cameras, and watchtowers has little or no security vetting access to their own offices on a freaking U.S. Air Force base.


"Hopefully what we did will inspire other O'odhams and other races to take action," said Alex Soto.

I have no doubt that it will. Indeed, in the wake of SB 1070, the recent ban on ethnic studies, and the declared intent of state Senator Russell Pearce to push the Legislature to deny birth certificates to American-citizen children born to undocumented parents, a brush fire of pro-immigrant activism has swept the state.

On May 17, four students pushing for the DREAM Act were arrested after a sit-down strike in the Tucson offices of U.S. Senator John McCain. The DREAM Act is proposed federal legislation that would allow undocumented students brought to this country as kids to normalize their status.

Three of those young activists were undocumented, and they were held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after hearings before a judge in Tucson. ICE later released them on their own recognizance, but they now face deportation hearings.

Though the three came here from other states, they have vowed to remain in Arizona to organize and agitate on behalf of the DREAM Act.

Fifteen students were arrested days earlier, also in Tucson, in a protest over a ban on classes that promote "ethnic solidarity." The ban is the lame brainchild of Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne, who is beating the nativist drum as he seeks to become our state's next attorney general.

And before that, on April 20, nine college-age men and women chained themselves to the door of the state Capitol in protest of SB 1070, forcing Capitol police to use bolt-cutters to free the activists before they were arrested and shipped to the Fourth Avenue Jail for this display of civil disobedience.

One of the Capitol Nine, as they're now called, was Leilani Clark, a 21-year-old student at Pima Community College whose defiant expression, radical outlook, and massive hair all combine to remind me of a young Angela Davis, the California history professor and political activist whose face was emblazoned on many a poster during the 1970s.

In a sort of echo of those times, an image of Clark getting arrested is now part of a billboard-size digital work of art that's being exhibited on the outside wall of Galeria de la Raza, a gallery in San Francisco's Mission District.

Clark is not Hispanic. Her father is African-American. Her mother is Native American. And she proudly touts herself as the product of the Tucson Unified School District's ethnic studies program. The very one Tom Horne's intent on destroying.

"It's very deep political consciousness that they give you," she told me over lunch in Tucson, referring to her ethnic studies. "So you can see the root factors of things.

"This is not just an immigration problem, it's an economic problem. Because all of the people coming up to the U.S. are economic refugees. They've lost their work, they've lost their livelihood down in Mexico because of U.S. trade policies."

Like many on the left, Clark points an accusing finger at the North American Free Trade Agreement, which critics say has devalued the price of corn in Mexico and helped impoverish many Mexicans, thus forcing them to flee north for work.

The ethnic studies program did not teach her this, per se, rather it taught her how to think critically. At age 16, she was already reading Howard Zinn's influential A People's History of the Unites States and comparing it to other U.S. histories. Pretty advanced stuff for a 16-year-old.

Anglos are not excluded from the classes, according to Clark. She told me that students read Chicano literature, African-American literature, and Native American literature, among other writings.

"It's very diverse," she said. "And it teaches you to have self-consciousness about other cultures. A lot of the students end up studying anthropology in higher education."

It is, in fact, that very diversity and independence of thought that Horne and the racist white Arizona power structure want to eradicate. Indeed, the Arizona Republican Party, in particular, wants to rip it up by the roots, all in a futile attempt to maintain Arizona as a white man's state.

I say futile because in 10 or 15 years' time, young people like Clark will have moved from the barricades to hold positions of influence themselves. And that terrifies the likes of bigots and opportunists such as Horne, state GOP Chairman Randy Pullen, Russell Pearce, and apparently Jan Brewer, as well as the fearful Caucasian community these leaders represent.

That's why these politicians are behind a law like 1070 that declares "attrition through enforcement" to be the policy of Arizona. When I asked Brewer what that meant during her recent press conference with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to promote a push-back to the boycott of Arizona, she tried to tell me it was about people coming here "legally."

Not at all, I shot back. It's about pushing people out — legal and illegal, as many brown people as they can get to leave the state as possible.

The bad news for them is that brilliant young men and women such as Clark are not leaving. They've opted to stay and fight.


"Civil disobedience is the next tactic in the escalation of the immigrant rights movement," Leilani Clark said. "We've exhausted every other resource. We've tried to call our senators, set up meetings with the governor. We've done our vigils, done our rallies, our prayers. We've fasted and marched. Our voices are not getting heard. We don't even count."

So Sand Landers can expect more civil disobedience, more passive resistance, and more demonstrations as the war over 1070 goes into a new phase. Unless, perhaps, 1070 is struck down by the courts.

Sigmund Freud had a concept that psychoanalysts call "the return of the repressed," wherein ideas and elements pushed down into the depths of the unconscious will inevitably reappear.

The anti-SB 1070 march to the Arizona state Capitol from Steele Indian School Park on Saturday, May 29, will be part of that return. (Check out for details.)

So, too, will be the acts of defiance that precede, follow, and accompany the march.

Because the more Arizona's leaders attempt to suppress the state's minority population, the greater the reaction will be, both within the state, and from without.

Long before Freud posited his theory, the American romantic poet William Cullen Bryant put it in more spiritual terms, in a passage the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was fond of quoting:

"Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Silent Body Art Expression! DREAM ACT NOW, NO SB1070

Thursday, May 27, 2010
12:00pm - 2:00pm
UC IRvine, Student Center infront of the Marquee


Throughout the year we have had rallies, marches, open forums, workshops and silent actions to fight against racism, budget cuts, and a variety of student issues on campus. Currently a lot of immigration issues have been attacking our communities. Such as the DREAM ACT and SB1070.
We would like to bring awareness about them to the UC Irvine campus using a different medium: Body Art!!!!!!

Join us in the protest by either painting your body blue or by educating the people who attend the action. The purpose of painting our bodies the same color is to express our complaints with regards to racial profiling. No one deserves being classified as an undocumented immigrant just by the color of their skin or race. If we can get enough people to participate, it would be ideal if we can recreate scenes that represent the fear that laws, such as SB1070, instill within the immigrant community.

Please Let me know if you are down to volunteer!!! We need as much support as we can!!!

Thank you very much!!

Background info!!

What is the DREAM Act?
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
Minors (DREAM) Act is bipartisan legislation that
addresses the situation faced by young people who were
brought to the United States years ago as undocumented
immigrant children and who have since grown up here, and
stayed in school.It has four basic requirements for adjustment of status which are:
You entered the country before the age of 16;
You graduate high school or obtain a GED;
No Criminal Record
You have at least five years of continuous presence in the US prior to the passage of the bill.
Age limits: youth up to the age of 35 can petition for the DREAM Act.

If you meet the criteria once the DREAM Act passes, you will then have six years within which to obtain a two-year college degree or complete two-years of military service.You can start petitioning for removal of the conditional status from your lawful residency 180 days before the sixth year, and can proceed to apply for naturalization. The years spent in conditional permanent residency also apply towards naturalization.
What is SB1070?
April 23rd was a sad day for Arizona, governor Jan Brewer signed SB1070, it was a terribly dangerous moment for the rest of our country. SB 1070 codifies hatred into law, disrupts national unity, and constitutes the most blatantly racist legislation in recent memory.

The new SB1070 Arizona immigration bill lets the state police perform checks on a "reasonable suspicion" that a person might be an illegal immigrant and make arrests for not carrying ID papers. Previously, police could not stop and check identification papers on a mere suspicion that someone might be an illegal immigrant. Police could only ask about an individual's immigration status if they are suspected of involvement in another crime.

Arizona's immigrant community is organizing and preparing to mount the political, legal, and economic pressure needed to restore constitutional protections to the state. They need the nation's help to change the federal policy that allowed for the formation of SB 1070. The simple fact is that the president of the United States has the moral authority and legal obligation to intervene and put an end to SB 1070.
April 22nd: Nine activists protesting state Senator Russell Pearce's anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 chained and locked themselves to the doors of the Arizona Capitol.

April 23rd: Governor Brewer signed SB1070 before the eyes of hundreds of activists who gathered at arizona to protest against he bill.

May 3rd: 18 UC berkeley Students started a Hunger strike againts SB1070, it lasted 10 days.

May 10th: 14 people arrested after they laid down chained together on Alameda Street, in front of the Immigation detention center for over 5 hours.

May 11th: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program.

May 17th: 3 Undocumented Youth Calling for Immediate Passage of the DREAM Act Detained after their day long sit-in at Senator John McCains Office in Tucson, AZ.

May 20th Students shut down L.A. 405 freeway traffic for the DREAM- 9 Arrested

May 20th: Supporters of the DREAM Act marched from Union Square in San Francisco, CA to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. 7 STUDENTS ARRESTED AFTER CALLING ON FEINSTEIN TO CHAMPION DREAM ACT AS STAND-ALONE BILL.
Thank you for taking action to pass the DREAM Act by June 15, 2010!
Call our representatives and ask them co-sponsor the DREAM ACT:
What does Co-sponsorship of a bill mean?
Sponsoring and Co-Sponsoring a bill is similar to Moving or Seconding a motion in a committee. Essentially, the Sponsor and Co-Sponsor(s) are the persons who are actually bringing the bill before the Senate (or House) and asking for it to be considered
Loretta Sanchez47th Congressional District. Phone: (714) 621-0102
Senator Diane Feinstein Phone: (310) 914-7300
Agaisnt SB1070:
Boycott Arizona


Dakota People and Allies relaunch the Take Down the Fort Campaign in response to the racist celebration and re-inactment of genocidal actions, and the 2010 proposed multi-million dollar renovation plans on a replica of what used to be Fort Snelling. Modeled after its 1820s condition, Fort Snelling was rebuilt after it was declared a historical landmark. The replica is crumbling and the Minnesota Historical Society wants Minnesota tax-payers to foot the $6.7 million bill to rebuild the structure at a time when state social services and education system are on the chopping block.

May 29th is the National Day of Action Against SB1070
In response to Arizona’s newly adopted anti-immigration legislation that promotes racial profiling and collective punishment by mandating law enforcement officers to check the citizenship of anyone who looks “suspicious”. A bill nearly identical to SB1070 was recently introduced in Minnesota by a Republican Representative and co-signed by five members of the House.

Immigrants and Allies to Kick Off Boycott Arizona – Minnesota! (BAM!)
An alliance of Minnesota immigrants and their allies are launching a campaign to Repeal SB1070 by encouraging individuals, organizations, and businesses to boycott Arizona, and to show the right wing extremists that we will not tolerate hateful Arizona style laws here in Minnesota.



Let My People Go- NJ Day of Actions Against Immigration Enforcement

NJ Statewide Day of Actions

Protesting Immigration Detention and ICE/Police Cooperation

At County Seats throughout NJ
(currently actions are planned for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, Union, others TBA)

This day of actions around the state is tied into a larger nationwide response to Arizona’s SB1070. The passage of this draconian law is motivating people of faith to come and speak out against the terrible injustice of our immigration policy as we see it being played out in our own communities.

Currently in NJ we have:

-5 county jails plus the Elizabeth Detention Center which are holding immigrants
-287(g) program in place in Monmouth and Hudson Counties
-Over a half dozen anti-immigrant bills in our state legislature
-The threat of having ICE’s “Secure Communities” in every county in the very near future

These circumstance combined with the legislation that was just passed in Arizona create a sense of urgency that we speak up. We will be attempting to organize vigils in as many of the county seats as possible with priority being given to those counties where immigrants are being held in the county jails.

We will take their prayers for justice to the streets, standing as witnesses outside the courthouses, county administration offices, sheriff's offices, county jails and other places where the brokenness of our immigration system is most apparent.

This day of action is a part of the National Solidarity Vigil and Fast for Arizona, June-July 2010 sponsored by The Interfaith Immigration Coalition. The "Isaiah 58 National Solidarity Vigil and Fast for Arizona" supports those who are praying and standing strong in Arizona and to demonstrate that the commitment of people of faith to fight for comprehensive immigration reform has not wavered and will not diminish. It will be occurring on a rolling basis throughout all 50 states.

The struggle for freedom has been enmeshed with the culture and history of America since its earliest days. This struggle did not end with the revolution rather it has been carried forward through the abolition movement, labor movement and the civil rights movement. To this day the struggle continues. Currently we have two classes of workers and residents - those with rights and full protection under the law and those who are being exploited and persecuted because of their immigration status.

Join us July 1st As We Demand

· An End to 287(g)

· A Halt to the Deployment of “Secure Communities”

· A Stop to the Raids

· An End to the Detention of Workers

· No Copycat Arizona Legislation in NJ

Because Community Enforcement will not Fix a Broken System

· Community Enforcement is flawed

· Community Enforcement is costly

· Community Enforcement makes us less safe

AND Because

· Raids & Detention Tear Our Families and our Communities Apart

Sponsored by: NJ Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, AFSC, Pax Christi NJ, IRATE & First Friends, NJ Forum for Human Rights, Casa Esperanza

For more information or to Co-sponsor contact

Kathy O’Leary or Craig Phipps

The "Isaiah 58 National Solidarity Vigil and Fast for Arizona" will begin on June 6, 2010 and continue with constant prayer and public witness through July 28, the date on which implementation of SB1070 will begin. During these eight weeks, vigil participation will roll from one region to another, with faith communities in groups of states leading activities for one week at a time.

Each week, the vigil will engage individuals in the assigned states in constant prayer and will include at least one public prayer event. Vigil participants will take their prayers for justice to the streets, standing as witnesses outside their statehouse, detention center, school, and other places where the brokenness of our immigration system is most apparent.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Arrested In Immigration Law Protest

NY1 News

Nearly 40 people were arrested today during an act of civil disobedience in Lower Manhattan meant to rally against Arizona's immigration law.

City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and union leaders from 32BJ were among the 37 people arrested during a rally that took place outside 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan. Local clergy, labor leaders, elected officials and community leaders linked arms to form a chain that temporarily blocked traffic.

This is the second time officials and other protestors were arrested while demonstrating against Arizona's law, which requires police to question people about immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally.

Organizers say there more rallies are planned.

"The next three weeks we're doing civil disobedience because we want to send a clear message to Congress that we are demanding comprehensive immigration reform,” said Bishop Orlando Findlayter, chair of the group Churches United to Save and Heal.

"I think Federal Plaza better get ready for every Monday that there will be thousands of people coming down here to be arrested here and on Broadway," Henry Singleton of Local 1199 said.

"We got to change the laws to help the people,” said New York Immigration Coalition’s Chung-Wha Hong. “It's bad laws hurting good people, so instead of blaming the people, let's fix our law."

Organizers are urging the Obama administration to pass federal immigration reform to overturn Arizona's controversial law. Opponents of the law see it as racial profiling.

Immigration: Lakers drop ball by playing it safe


Professional athletes can seem larger than life as outspoken, fearless giants flexing bravado, commanding our attention – that is, until controversy arrives and they shrink into nimble Chaplins teetering upon their heels in a suddenly-turned-silent movie.

That's how we find our leading-men Lakers now that they have been cast into the political cauldron that is Arizona for Sunday's Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix team formerly known as "Los Suns."

The Lakers are being careful with what they say – and in many cases saying nothing – about Arizona's divisive Senate Bill 1070, which has given rise to fears of racial profiling as the state cracks down on illegal immigration.

Like every entity with any ties to the Grand Canyon State, the Lakers have a golden opportunity to step up, to speak up and to stand up in support of the Latino community that so faithfully backs them.

As one of the world's most high-profile franchises playing in an NBA that prides itself on globalization, the Lakers are in position to protest a law that allows police to question suspected illegal immigrants about their status and demand to see their documents.

The Suns, at owner Robert Sarver's request "to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona and our nation," wore their "Los Suns" jerseys for Game 2 of a Western Conference semifinals on Cinco de Mayo. They made a statement.

The Lakers, making the safest play of no play at all, are dropping the ball. They've recused themselves from the situation.

"Athletes are very reluctant to make political statements," said Richard E. Lapchick, the director of University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. "There has been a really tiny history of athletes doing that, and where they have done it, they've almost always paid an immediate price for it."

The "tiny history" is headlined by the NFL players' planned boycott of Super Bowl XXVII (1993) in Phoenix because Arizona rejected two ballot measures to make Martin Luther King Day a holiday. The game was moved to Pasadena. The NFL pressure influenced the 1992 Arizona vote for MLK Day and the league awarded the state Super Bowl XXX (1996).

NBA legend Bill Russell detailed his struggle as a black man weathering discrimination in sports and society in his 1965 book, "Go Up for the Glory." In 1966 boxing champion Muhammad Ali protested the Vietnam War, applying for conscientious objector status to avoid the draft.

At the 1968 Olympics, black U.S. sprinter Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists as a declaration of "Black Power" during the 200-meter dash medal ceremony, protesting how Mexican troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, killing 250, just 10 days before the Opening Ceremony.

Social conscience has become part of sporting legacies. But who in today's sports world will risk popularity, reputation and endorsement portfolios to criticize this Arizona law that has been labeled everything from zero tolerance to Draconian.

Staying clear of politics is obviously the most pragmatic play in this lose-lose-lose proposition. Support the law and risk being seen as a proponent of racial profiling. Protest the law and see your patriotism questioned. Straddle the fence and double your critics.

Still, melting-pot cities, among them Los Angeles, have pushed for an economic boycott of Arizona. Activists want snack-maker Frito-Lay to stop supporting the Fiesta Bowl. The World Boxing Council is taking steps to limit fights in the state. A Highland Park, Ill, girls varsity basketball team scrapped a trip to play in an Arizona tournament because of the law.

Major League Baseball, a league in which 25 percent of the players on opening-day rosters were foreign-born, is shouldering the weight of the outcry. Its players' union issued a statement condemning the law. Congressmen suggest that half the league's clubs relocate their Arizona spring-training facilities.

Jesse Jackson, among others, wants Commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix, and Venezuela-born Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he'd boycott the game if he were asked to attend.

There's also heat on college football's Fiesta Bowl and the BCS national title game, which will be held in January in Glendale, Ariz, as well as major events in NASCAR, golf, tennis and boxing. Even Arizona's four professional teams are feeling the fallout (the Diamondbacks have been getting booed on the road).

"If a team did something collectively, made a symbolic statement, the team would get a lot of attention," said Lapchick. "The Latino fans of the Lakers would be proud that the Lakers did that. However we're in a nation where stunningly 61 percent of the people in a public option poll said that they support the legislation."

The Lakers – like Selig and Fiesta Bowl organizers and all those leaving social issues to the workings of government – are playing hot-potato with the hot-button Arizona law that Lapchick called "the worst piece of legislation that I can remember in my life time."

They play it safe and stay quiet. But in their silence, one has to wonder if they are tacitly consenting to the Arizona law.

With the exception of the edgy move by the part-Mexican Mrs. Kobe Bryant, who donned a "Do I look legal?" T-shirt for this past Monday's Game 1, the Lakers continue pulling the not-my-problem ripcord, detaching themselves from the issue, their city and many of their fans.

"We will not be getting involved in choosing sides among our many different support groups in any debate ..." said Lakers spokesman John Black. "Our focus and goal at this time is on basketball, winning games, and hopefully winning another championship, which we feel the vast majority of our fans want us to focus on."

The team will not only keep closeted the "Los Lakers" jersey it last wore on March 21 to honor its Hispanic following; the team has come out to say that they won't be wearing it during this season's playoffs, which really means while the SB 1070 debate remains hot.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson briefly joined the debate, chiding his opponent's "Los Suns" demonstration and said he interpreted the bill as one allowing Arizona to grow the "teeth to be able to enforce" federal immigration law. His reluctance to oppose the law has drawn the ire of many fans.

It should. So should the fact that the Lakers giants have quietly taken cover inside their cloistered court that honors the separation of sports and state.

They have put on their blinders to this controversy and focused squarely on winning another gold trophy for the booty chest.

But ultimately, what does another NBA world championship mean when a political battle is breaking out in our backyard?

Willy Northpole comes out against SB1070: Back to Mexico

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Activists Lockdown & Occupy US Border Patrol Headquarters Demanding End to Border Militarization, Protesters Cited and Released

High resolution pictures and B-roll available at: www.oodhamsolidarity.blogs

Tucson, AZ – At approximately 1:00PM Friday, May 21, 2010 more than a dozen people occupied the Tucson Headquarters of the US Border Patrol to draw attention to impacts of border militarization in Indigenous Communities. Six people, including Alex Soto a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation and a volunteer with the group O’odham Solidarity Across Borders, locked themselves together for up to 3 and 1/2 hours. “Indigenous voices have been ignored. In our action today we say NO MORE!” Said Soto.

Banners were hung, including one placed over the reception window that read, “Stop Militarization of Indigenous Lands Now”, traditional songs were sung and the group chanted, “Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities!” and “No raids, no deportations! No SB1070, no racist laws!” Approximately 30 Border Patrol agents flooded the lobby of the headquarters and scrambled to react. Roads to the headquarters and adjacent air force base were shut down. Tucson City Police were eventually called and began preparing an extraction of the peaceful resisters.

A diverse crowd of up to 70 people quickly gathered outside the Border Patrol headquarters to support those locked down inside. Ofelia Rivas of O’odham Voices Against The Wall, an elder in support of the action stated, “It was a historical and powerful moment for people of all color to unite with O’odham to stand in solidarity for human rights and to see the next generation take a stand”.

At approximately 4 o’clock the peaceful resisters negotiated the conditions of their release on their terms. Their requests to consult with Tohono O’odham elders to negotiate terms of release were denied by Tucson Police. The protesters decided to unlock and were cited for two misdemeanors each of trespassing and disorderly conduct. The resisters were released just outside the premises to join supporters where they gathered in traditional prayer and rallied against border militarization for another hour. Community members including members of the Pasqual Yaqui, Tohono O'odham, and Dine' Nations reacted emotionally when two Wackenhut Corp. buses left the Border Patrol compound filled with undocumented people. The detainees responded with returning the symbol of resistance - a raised fist.

“This is just one action of many that makes visible the invisible crimes against humanity that occur every day on the colonial border,” stated one of the peaceful resisters. “We commit to honoring the prayers and call for support of the people most impacted by border militarization, the Indigenous Peoples who’s lands we are on and migrants who seek a better life for their families. We cannot not allow government agencies, border patrol, ICE or reformist agendas to further their suffering. We will continue our actions of peaceful resistance for human dignity and respect for all peoples.”

The action also denounced SB1070 and HB2281 as racist laws that are a part of an ongoing system of genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples and migrant communities.

For previous Press Statement, please see attachment.
Note to editors, high resolution photos attached; Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective

Media Contacts:
Alex Soto (602) 881-6027
Leilani Clark (520) 982-5687

Friday, May 21, 2010

Native American Community Weighs In on SB 1070

Friday, 21 May 2010
KSAZ Fox 10

TUCSON - Hispanic people have been at the center of Arizona's immigration law. Some of them fear they will be victims of racial profiling, and now Native Americans are having the same concerns.

They made their voices heard at a rally Friday in downtown Tucson. They say they have felt the sting of racial profiling, and that other people could feel it too due to Arizona's new immigration law.

Over a hundred people prayed and stood united against Senate Bill 1070. They think it will lead to racial profiling, and they don't think it will help secure the border.

"For hundreds of years we've been respecting each others' cultures across and along the border. I think with new laws like this it makes things more complicated and causes conflicts between people," says protester Amy Juan.

The Tohono O'Oodham Reservation, southwest of Tucson, straddles the U.S.-Mexico border. It is the size of the state of Connecticut.

Protesters say drug and human smuggling is a problem on tribal land too, but the new law is not a fair way to deal with it.

"It attempts to redefine who an immigrant. White America has conveniently demonized the most recent immigrants -- the brown skinned," says protester Michael Wilson.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa tribal community east of Scottsdale has also weighed in on SB 1070. They say it doesn't present a favorable image of Arizona to international travelers.

Statement from Tohono O'Oodham Nation

"This law creates a hostile atmosphere for minority groups who will have to carry identification at all times just to prove their right to be here. This misguided and detrimental law must be repealed before it inflicts any further harm on Arizona. For its part, the Tohono Oodham Nation will continue its extensive efforts to assist in protecting the U.S. border on its lands. However, it is imperative that comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level is implemented in order to confront all aspects of this problem."

Statement of those arrested at Border Patrol Headquarters at Davis-Monthan Air Force Bace in Tucson, Arizona



“The militarized border imposed by the U.S. has lead only to cultural and environmental destruction of the indigenous peoples whose land is on or near the border. This militarization brings death and terror for indigenous peoples from other parts of the continent migrating to this land.”
21 May 2010

Tucson, AZ – More than a dozen people occupied Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base today in an act of peaceful resistance. The group includes members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies. Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tears families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.

The protesters also call on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin. This act of civil disobedience was only the latest in an increasing wave of direct action targeting the federal government’s terrorist immigration policies.

Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities.

The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of our ancestors graves, it has divided our communities and prevents us from accessing sacred places.

Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to migration. We have existed here long before these imposed borders, my elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are our communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for our communities.

Indigenous communities such as the O’odham, the Pascua Yaqui, Laipan Apache, Kickapoo, and Cocopah along the US/Mexico border have been terrorized with laws and practices like SB1070 for decades. Indigenous people along the border have been forced by border patrol to carry and provide proof of tribal membership when moving across their traditional lands that have been bisected by this imposed border; a border that has been extremely damaging to the cultural and spiritual practices of these communities. Many people are not able to journey to sacred sites because the communities where people live are on the opposite side of the border from these sites. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.

On this day people who are indigenous to Arizona join with migrants who are indigenous to other parts of the Western Hemisphere in demanding a return to traditional indigenous value of freedom of movement for all people. Prior to the colonization by European nations (spaniards, english, french) and the establishment of the european settler state known as the United States and the artificial borders it and other european inspired nation states have imposed; indigenous people migrated, traveled and traded with each other without regard to artificial black lines drawn on maps. U.S. immigration policies dehumanize and criminalize people simply because which side of these artificial lines they were born on. White settlers whose ancestors have only been here at most for a few hundred years have imposed these policies of terror and death on “immigrants” whose ancestors have lived in this hemisphere for tens of thousands of years, for time immemorial.

In addition, the migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families. Thousand of women, men, children and elders have died crossing just in the last decade. If the U.S. really wants to reduce migration it should end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate.

The protestors are demanding:

-An end to border militarization
-The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g
-An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of our communities
-No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
-No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
-No Deportations
-No Raids
-No ID-verification
-No Checkpoints

-Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
-Yes to human rights
-Yes to dignity
-Yes to respect
Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration

8 people cited after protest at Border Patrol Headquarters


TUCSON - At least eight people who initially refused to leave the lobby of the Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base, have been cited and released by the Tucson Police Department.

Protestors are still demonstrating outside of the building.

The demonstrators say they are protesting SB 1070 and any military presence at the border.
(click image for full-size)

In a statement they said, "The militarized border imposed by the U.S. has lead only to cultural and environmental destruction of the indigenous peoples whose land is on or near the border."

These are pictures taken by our crew on the scene.

The protestors inside chained themselves to a pillar in the lobby. They left the building after 4 hours.

In an effort to be balanced, News 4 reached out to Border Patrol, but were told no comment will be released about the incident.

Immigration protest in downtown Tucson


UPDATE - The demonstration in downtown Tucson is over. Nearly 100 demonstrators gathered around 11 a.m., to protest Arizona's new immigration law and Ethnic Studies law.

The protest wrapped up just after 1 p.m.

The group, Native and Indigenous Peoples Against SB 1070, contends immigration bills such as SB 1070 rest on the "securing" of the borders in order to manage the flow of migration.

They say, the passage of HB 2281, the Ethnics Studies law, further contributes to the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples by criminalizing the histories of Indigenous peoples in our own lands within the Arizona public school system.

Watch News 4 at 5 for the latest.

TUCSON - More than 60 people are protesting Arizona's new immigration law and Ethnics Studies law.

The group, Native and Indigenous Peoples Against SB 1070, are gathering downtown from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday.

According to the group, anti-illegal immigration bills such as SB 1070 rest on the "securing" of the borders in order to manage the flow of migration.

This securing includes and is not limited to a physical wall to be made on Indigenous land (Tohono O'odham/Lipan Apache to name a few).

They say, the passage of HB 2281, the Ethnics Studies law, further contributes to the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples by criminalizing the histories of Indigenous peoples in our own lands within the Arizona public school system.

The immigration struggle is also an Indigenous struggle.

The Tohono O'odham Nation is speaking about the issue.

Its concern is that some members of the O'Odham nation will be questioned often because of their inability to document their citizenship because there is no official United States record of their births.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beware Quebecoise! You may be next!

Burlington Free Press
By Ted Auch

So it appears that Arizona has successfully decoupled its laws from those of advanced society when Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into Law SB 1070 whose “aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.”

The criteria police officers will use rely on something the law calls "reasonable suspicion," which is about as big an umbrella category as you will find anywhere. Anyone with dark skin will be forced to carry with them wherever they go documentation speaking to the validity of their residency in the United States.

I find it amazing that the very same folks that pushed this bill out of one side of their mouth are on the other side accusing Barack Obama of being a fascist. This DoubleSpeak is right out of George Orwell's opus "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and is the type of rhetoric that has slowly but steadily been percolating up from right-wing hate groups since President Obama's election.

It is even creeping -- overtly and covertly -- into national politics with Republican Pat Bertroche vying for the 3rd District congressional primary seat in Iowa noting that, "I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I microchip an illegal?" That's very true Pat. Why don't we just make a minor incision in everyone with dark skin, implant a microchip and send them on their merry way? That makes complete sense and it doesn't sound prima facie like it violates anyone's human rights.

This uptick dovetails into The Southern Poverty Law Center's documentation of mushrooming phenomena in their latest report "Rage on the Right," which quantified a 244 percent increase in the number of "patriots'" groups, from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009. This came at the same time as racist hate groups rose from an all-time high of 926 to 932 in 2009 and "nativist extremist" groups -- vigilante organizations that go beyond advocating strict immigration policy and actually confront or harass suspected immigrants -- grew from 173 to 309 (+80 percent) between 2008 and 2009.

This type of trend does not speak well for border states writ large. If Vermonters think that this type of sentiment will not rear its ugly head here with respect to Canadians in general and Quebecoise specifically we're fooling ourselves. The recent legal battle between the Rainvilles of Franklin County and The Department of Homeland Security is, in my opinion, the opening salvo in a nascent fortification and potentially militarization of our border with Quebec.

Janet Napolitano and Co. feel it is imperative that we fortify a crossing that experiences 2.5 cars an hour or 21,900 per year. If you consider that the monies allotted to this project amount to $5 million, that averages out to $228 per car, or with respect to the Rainvilles 4.9 acres, we're talking about $1.02 million per acre. Either way you cut it I am sure Gov. Jim Douglas or his successor could find markedly more important things to do with this "stimulus."

For anyone interested in reading more about the Rainville matter I would refer you to Secretary Napolitano's letter to Sen. Leahy on March 10 of this year (

Needless to say we are seeing a growing sense of paranoia and misguided attempts at securing 1,969 miles of Mexican- and 5,525 miles of Canada-U.S. borderland. We should work hard here in Vermont to insure that the 90-mile border we share with Quebec never even faintly resembles what those in Arizona are trying to construct.

After all it is not immigrants, illegal or otherwise, forcing U.S.-based multinationals to outsource thousands of jobs under the guise of globalized capitalism. How about a little more job protectionism and a little less racism cloaked in pseudo-patriotism.

Ted Auch lives in Burlington.

Arizona students rally at state Capitol for Dream Act

By Allison Hurtado - May. 20, 2010 06:43 PM
The Arizona Republic

Hundreds of people gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday to advocate for Congress' passing the Dream Act.

A band played to a group of students and teachers as they painted signs and spoke to passers- by about the measure.

The Dream Act, introduced to Congress in 2001, would create an opportunity for undocumented high school students who have been raised in the United States to become citizens.

Such students would have to complete high school and at least two years of post-secondary education or serve in the armed forces. The students would be allowed to apply for grants and scholarships and would be granted citizenship only if they demonstrated good moral character.

Students believe the passing of the act is the first step toward immigration reform and the best way to allow college-bound undocumented students to achieve their dreams.

They hope the Dream Act will pass in mid-June before SB 1070 goes into effect.

Protesters rally over illegal immigration in Claremont

Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:23 PM CDT
Fontana Herald News

CLAREMONT — Hundreds of Inland Empire residents who support rights for immigrants marched through the streets of Claremont last Sunday morning and rallied near Pomona College, where Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony.

Holding signs that read “Alto Arizona” (Stop Arizona), “I only Look Illegal,” “End Workers and Corner Raids,” and “Stop Ripping Families Apart,” about 350 marchers sent Secretary Napolitano a loud message as she received an honorary degree and delivered a brief speech to thousands of attendees.

Organized by the May 16 Coalition, which is made up of university students, community leaders, immigrant workers, professors, union members, and community-based organizations in the Inland Valley region, the march began at the Claremont Greyhound Station, where immigration raids have taken place, and ended at Shelton Park, where Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Services Center, urged Napolitano to take action immediately.

“Secretary Napolitano must take legal action against oppressive local and state immigration policies, including Arizona’s SB1070, immediately. Secretary Napolitano can show the leadership that we need to stop racial profiling, stop the separation of families, and end the criminalization of immigrant workers,” said Amaya.

The Coalition alleges that Napolitano’s policies have resulted in more than 50 local raids in the last year, hundreds of firings through the E-Verify program, and the implementation of the 287 (g) program, which permits local authorities to perform immigration law enforcement.

“I have witnessed the Border Patrol raids and their cooperation with the local police first-hand. We want to tell Secretary Napolitano that her draconian enforcement policies do not represent the American values of opportunity and equality that we hold dear and upon which this country was founded,” said Eddie Gonzalez, a representative of the Inland Empire Day Laborer Congress.

Although most faculty members were busy listening to Napolitano’s remarks, members of the Intercollegiate Department of Chicano-Latino Studies at the Claremont Colleges expressed their support for the immigrant community, calling for the respect of fundamental rights.

“As people of conscience, we call for 1) an immediate end to the current practice of raids, detentions and deportations that divide the families and violate rights, 2) meaningful legislation which enables real immigration reform, and 3) a fair path to citizenship,” said the professors in a statement.

The protesters gathered in front of the Andrew Carnegie Building, filling stairs as they chanted the popular refrain, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”

ACROSS the street, a small group of Minutemen expressed their opposition to illegal immigration. They attacked Napolitano for allegedly not doing enough raids and deportations to safely secure the borders.

“Napolitano should round them up and deport them all ... damn roaches,” said Bill Stevenson, who supports Arizona’s SB 1070. “They don’t belong here, they only cause us trouble.”

On the grounds of Pomona College, Napolitano stated the issue has been passed from administration to administration without ever receiving the necessary attention it deserves for a solution.

“Today is not a day to debate policies, but the status quo is no longer acceptable. You see and hear today in this community and nationally the issue of immigration is part of our national debate,” said Napolitano in front of 375 graduates.

Doris Padilla, 60, a native of Bolivia, expressed her frustration and rage with demonstrators, saying they have no right to protest on a day that is filled with so much happiness for graduates. Padilla, 60, said she migrated to this country with a student visa, becoming a U.S. citizen later in life.

“They could protest any other day but today; today is their (graduates’) day. These people should go home, they are annoying,” said Padilla, a La Verne resident. “They ask for amnesty but don’t deserve anything. They are a disgrace to my race ... giving us Latinos a bad name.”

Immigration Issue Divides Arizona Mormons

By Joanna Brooks
May 20, 2010
Religion Dispatches Magazine

Latino Mormons spoke out this week against Arizona’s controversial new immigration law SB 1070.

Local leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are reporting that missionaries are having “doors slammed in their faces” by Latinos who identify the law with its author, Mormon state senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa).

One Latino Mormon who is now in deportation proceedings told the Arizona Republic this week, “I want the Church to put a stop to him.”

Six percent of the population of Arizona is Mormon. This includes not only Anglos in historic LDS settlements like Mesa, Snowflake, and Thatcher, but also strong contingents of Latino and Native American Mormons.

Pearce has publicly cited one of the “Thirteen Articles of Faith,” a Mormon creed authored by Joseph Smith in 1842, as justification for SB 1070: article twelve states “we believe... in honoring, sustaining, and obeying the law.”

But Latino Mormons object to the law as contradictory to fundamental principles of Christian charity, compassion, tolerance, and kindness.

Anglo Mormons who work with Spanish-speaking Mormon congregations have also gone on record against SB 1070. In a widely circulated letter addressed to Governor Jan Brewer, Mesa resident William Richardson, a multi-generational Mormon and self-identified “conservative” who serves as the ecclesiastical leader of a Spanish-speaking congregation, decried SB 1070 for its inhumanity to the children of immigrant parents, its impracticality and unfairness, and its meanspiritedness.

The LDS Church’s official stance on immigration holds that immigration policy is “the province of government” but urges “compassion and careful reflection” in matters affecting immigrants and their families.

The debate over immigration reveals a divide between Mormons who look to the faith’s future as a global church and those who hold to deep-seated ethnic Anglo-Mormon identity and view political conservatism as a defining feature of LDS cultural and religious orthodoxy.

It is estimated that of the Church’s 13 million members worldwide, more than 4.5 million members are Spanish-speaking. Spanish-speaking LDS congregations in the US have grown by an estimated 90 percent in the last decade. The majority of Mormon converts in the US now come from Latino communities. And there are just about as many Mormons who live in Mexico and Central America as there are in the state of Utah.