Phoenix: pro-immigrant activsts march

On Dec. 19, about 100 immigrant rights activists marched six miles from Pruitt’s Home Furnishings in Phoenix, Arizona, to City Hall to protest Mayor Phil Gordon’s decision to end a policy that restricts Phoenix police officers from asking people about their immigration status during routine encounters. The march took place on the day of the last City Council meeting of the year; 25 activists entered City Hall to urge the Council to oppose the policy change. “I implore you to maintain the policy so the immigrant community can maintain trust of the police,” Rev. Liana Rowe of Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona told the City Council. About 30 anti-immigrant activists held a counter-protest outside City Hall.

Activist Salvador Reza, who organized the march, accused Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of trying to intimate marchers by sending deputies to patrol areas along the route. A Sheriff’s Department van with a billboard on the side that said “stop illegal immigration” trailed protesters most of the way along the march route. Sheriff’s deputies arrested nine people in traffic stops near Pruitt’s; seven of those arrested turned out to be undocumented immigrants, according to sheriff’s department spokesperson Paul Chagolla. Arpaio is a vocal opponent of out-of-status immigrants and has had a number of his deputies trained to act as immigration officers. (Arizona Republic, Dec. 19;, Dec. 20)

Pruitt’s has been the site of weekly protests by rights advocates and supporters of day laborers and counter- protests by anti-immigrant activists. (AR, Dec. 19) Reza started bringing protesters to Pruitt’s to pressure the store’s owner to stop paying off-duty sheriff’s deputies to patrol his parking lot. Reza said the off-duty deputies have arrested and deported 65 immigrants in the area so far. “In essence, you have a private individual being able to implement US immigration laws,” Reza said. “That’s very dangerous and it cannot be tolerated.” Reza said his group will continue to protest outside Pruitt’s and boycott the store until the owner replaces the sheriff’s deputies with private security guards, who do not have the power to deport people. (AP, Dec. 21)

From Immigration News Briefs, Dec. 16

See our last posts on the immigration crackdown and the struggle in Phoenix.

  1. illegal immigrants.
    1. Illegal immigrants break the law by illegally crossing the border
    2. Break a second law when gain employment
    3. Businesses employing illegals break a law employing them.
    4. Have protest demanding equal rights
    5. Special interests groups and business groups defend illegals.
    6. Special interest and big business demand the laws not be enforced and for equal rights for illegals.
    While this is going on the federal government does nothing.
    It is obvious that big business and special interests has taken over our government, shut down enforcement of immigration laws, and told the government to tell the public that the system is broken. If you don’t think that big business has control over our politicians look at the SAVE Act. While promising to get tough at the border, it also give employers of illegals up to four years to verify employees. What’s wrong with that picture?
    It’s simple, the illegals come for employment, no employment and they will self deport. Sounds simple enough but we will have to fight tooth and nail against big business, special interests, and a government that is very reluctant to do their elected jobs. Until we do this the situation will continue to get worst.

    1. some problems with your “solution”…
      Let’s put aside for a moment your echo of the anti-immigrant right’s tired refrain–“what part of illegal don’t they understand,” which is easily refuted but really irrelevant here–and get to the meat of the issue.

      We can agree that “big business and special interests” control the US government (though we might disagree over which special interests have the most influence). In terms of immigration policy, big business for the most part favors the status quo: maintain an underclass of workers who are too fearful of deportation to effectively defend their rights. There’s a bit of disagreement on how best to do this–some businesses are concerned about the current onslaught of enforcement and would prefer a “guest-worker” program–but basically, they are not in favor of any policy that would give undocumented workers the freedom to organize for better wages and working conditions.

      Your “simple” solution–“no employment and they will self deport”–is not really so simple. Yes, some immigrants will leave as we head deeper into the current recession. But immigrants don’t just take jobs, they create them by being consumers of goods and services. So any program of deportation–voluntary or otherwise–will likely also contribute to a shrinking of the economy, and a deepening of the recession. Another problem is that the economy of Mexico–the homeland of more than half of this country’s undocumented immigrants–is so closely tied to the US economy that any recession here will likely translate into a recession there, with the result that most Mexicans will prefer to stay here, even if they are barely scraping by.

      So if your concerns are economic, a better solution would be for immigrant and non-immigrant workers to demand equal rights and organize together in their workplaces.

      And if your concern is that big business breaks the law and government does nothing about it, then maybe you should join us in demanding that the government enforce all the labor laws, wage and hour laws, health and safety laws, environmental laws, tax laws, etc. that big businesses (and small businesses) are constantly breaking.