The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday for and against Arizona’s two-year old immigration law known as SB1070. SB1070 was the pioneer in anti-immigrant legislation that gave seed to 36 other states introducing similar legislation and 5 passing laws modeled on it.
Four specific provisions of the Arizona law are before the Supreme Court with a decision due in June.
They include a requirement that police determine immigration status of a person they stop, criminalizing immigrants who seek or accept work or don’t carry their visas, and allowing police to arrest individuals without a warrant if they are ‘a deportable’ immigrant.
The loose translation of this is: if you look brown and smell like you came from Mexico get out and leave us a couple of bucks in fines for our troubles.
The issue before the court boils down to state versus federal power something too lofty for many to understand, what was clearly understood was this law targeted brown skinned people and Latino’s specifically, illegal or otherwise.
Latinos knew that the law was coming at a time when illegal immigration was at all time lows. Latinos knew that the law was coming when deportations were at an all time high. Most of all Latinos knew this legislation came when negative rhetoric about Latino immigrants were at record levels and the economy needed a scape goat.
The die was cast and the whispers were no longer silent – they don’t like us – Mexican’s get out. SB1070 spawned an anti-Latino sentiment and nothing the Supreme Court decides will change that, they aren’t that powerful.
What about those Arizona Latinos that stayed behind because their family called this home even before the Mexican-American war of 1863, when Arizona was part of Mexico? To quote George Lopez “We ain’t going nowhere!!”
However, all Latinos know that even if SB1070 is defeated there are other initiatives that have Latinos in the cross hairs like voter ID laws and a water-downed DREAM Act by Marco Rubio, for example.
For weary Arizona Latino’s regardless of the Supreme Court decision there is Sheriff Arpaio they might face one dark night, there is the ban on Mexican-American studies in high schools and Latino candidates banned from running for office if their English isn’t up to snuff.
What can this court really change when SB1070 changed so much forever?