By Shawndrea Corbin
Issue date: 5/13/10
On April 20, nine Arizona State University students chained themselves to the state Capitol building in order to protest Arizona's controversial immigration bill, SB1070. The bill was signed in to law three days later by Governor Brewer.
The new law will make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to be in the state of Arizona and requires police to request proof of citizenship from people they have "reasonable suspicion" are in the country illegally. The bill's passing, and the subsequent protesting across the country, have put Arizona in the national spotlight.
Justine Garcia was one of the nine ASU students arrested during the incident. College Times recently spoke with Garcia to get some perspective from someone in the front lines of the protesting movement.
College Times: Why were you protesting that day?
Garcia: We were protesting because we went through all other legal means possible to oppose SB1070. It violates civil rights for Latinos. We sent e-mails, called the governor, voted and eventually protested peacefully. We did everything within the law.
Were you scared when the police showed up?
A little bit. But seeing the support that we had from the community and students, it made me feel better. It was scary seeing my friends get arrested though, but I know I was doing the right thing. It was my first time getting arrested.
What drives you to get out and protest?
This is the third year I've been protesting for this cause. This is a violation of human rights and it's happening in our own community. That's what makes me compelled, how can you just let this happen? We have the power and it's human nature. How could you not help these people?
Do you feel that protesting in physical demonstrations is the best way to get your message across?
The calls and e-mails we made aren't put out to the public. We chained ourselves to the Capitol as a metaphor. People are chained to the Legislature; their decisions affect all of us. This showed the public that we are actual students, not criminals, and that protesting does have an impact.