We first met Rene on the lawn of the state capitol. He was dressed in desert fatigues: harkening back, perhaps, to his years of U.S. military service during the first Gulf War.
The military was a pathway to citizenship for Rene; it has been for hundreds of thousands of immigrants over the years.
Rene and Claudia were married in 1995. Claudia is undocumented. And the couple has repeatedly tried to normalize her immigration status in the years since their marriage.
Claudia didn’t want to come to the capitol to speak with us. She was afraid to do so. For this couple and their children, fear has become a common part of their lives in Arizona.
Gaby is 15 years old. She came to Arizona when she was a baby. She, her parents, and an older brother were born in Mexico. Her two younger sisters were born in Arizona and are U.S. citizens.
Gaby speaks Spanish, but doesn’t read or write it, which would complicate plans for higher education in Mexico. She wants to get a nursing degree, and then train to be a neurologist. She talks with Maria about how 1070 could change all that.
These four university students were arrested last week for an act of civil disobedience: chaining themselves to the doors of the capitol. The four friends are all students at ASU: they’re studying social work, journalism, political science, and trans-border Chicana/Latina studies. They talk to Maria about reaching a point where they felt it was time to act in response to SB-1070, and how they’re looking out for one another as they manage life in Arizona.
Maria catalogues some of the official reaction to the passage of SB-1070.
On May 1, 2010, there were a number of May Day marches across the country that focused on immigration reform and on the new law in Arizona. The Los Angeles Times reports that 60 thousand people took to the streets of LA on Saturday. Here are photos from that event, and similar events in New York, Washington, and Chicago.
The Arizona Republic published a rare full-page editorial on its front page Sunday, May 2, which included this castigation and call for leadership: “The federal government is abdicating its duty on the border. Arizona politicians are pandering to public fear. The result is a state law that intimidates Latinos while doing nothing to curb illegal immigration.” You can read the editorial here or by clicking the image to the right.