Podcast: After Supreme Court SB 1070 Ruling, What’s Next for Immigrants in Arizona?

In this podcast episode, Fi2W Executive Producer John Rudolph interviews journalist Valeria Fernandez about the impact that the Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 is having on immigrant communities in Arizona.

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SEIU members call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in front of the White House

SEIU members call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in front of the White House. (Photo: David Sachs/SEIU)

Phoenix — While the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070 is sending some immigrants into the shadows, others are stepping up efforts to advocate for undocumented immigrants.

Groups including the PUENTE Movement are launching a campaign, “A Journey to Justice: Undocumented and Unafraid” with 8 undocumented immigrants who will embark on a one-month road trip challenging authorities to arrest them.  Among the planned stops is the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It’s going to be undocumented people telling their stories in their own words across the country,” said Carlos García, director of PUENTE.

The bus is set to leave on July 29ththe day SB 1070 went partially into effect 2-years-ago.  Among the passengers will be Leticia Ramirez,  a 27-year-old immigrant from Coahuila, Mexico.  “I want to go to show people that just because we don’t have papers we don’t have to be afraid, we have to pull our strength and be united,” said Ramirez.

She was inspired to “come out” about her status by undocumented youth across the country that have been doing the same, but Ramirez has spoken with others who have decided to leave Arizona.

“There’s still a lot of misinformation, some people are very afraid, others don’t know anything about their rights and don’t think it will affect them,” she said.

In it’s June 25th ruling the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three parts of SB 1070 and allowed one portion to go into effect.  That section makes it mandatory for police in Arizona to inquire about a person’s immigration status when the police have reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

“Our take is that we have to prepare the community because things are going to get more difficult. What we’ve seen with (Maricopa
County Sheriff Joe) Arpaio and Phoenix Police is going to get tougher,” said Garcia.

Arpaio has called himself the “father of SB 1070” due to the sweeps sheriff’s deputies have conducted over the past four years looking for undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio operated under an agreement with the federal government known as 287(g) that allowed 160 of his deputies to enforce immigration laws.  Once the agreement was rescinded by the federal government due to allegations of racial profiling by sheriff’s deputies, he continued to use state laws to arrest immigrants for working with false documents or being smuggled into the the U.S.

Enforcement of the section of SB 1070 that was upheld by U.S. Supreme Court is expected to begin sometime this month.  But Garcia argues that police agencies have already been checking the immigration status of people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.  The only difference is that now enforcement is mandatory.

Feet in 2 Worlds is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. 

AboutValeria Fernández
Valeria Fernández is an independent journalist from Uruguay with more than a 14 years experience as a bilingual documentary producer and reporter on Arizona’s immigrant community and the US-Mexico borderlands. She co-directed and produced "Two Americans,” a documentary that parallels the stories of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies that aired in Al Jazeera America. Her work as reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting on the economic and social impacts of a mine spill in Northern Mexico broadcast in PBS, San Diego and won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting in 2016. She freelances for a number of print, digital and broadcast media outlets, including Feet in 2 Worlds, CNN Español, Radio Bilingue, PRI's Global Nation, Al Jazeera, and Discovery Spanish.