Frontier—in America, the word holds freedom. It implies individuality and self-reliance. "It's where we go to remake ourselves," says photographer David Taylor [See this week’s News Feature, “Port of Entry.”] Frontera on the other hand, adheres to the literal definition. It's a line, a boundary.
When Arizona delivered SB 1070 in late April, the GOP drew another line in the sand. Republicans took control of the national discourse in the run-up to November's elections. The campaigns are talking immigration, especially in the westerly border states [see Gene Grant’s column]. And just like at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether you see promise or a barrier depends on where you're standing.
Barring legal interference, SB 1070 will go into effect on Thursday, July 29. As the date approaches, the Alibi will continue to unpack this issue. It's registering nationally, but few know like New Mexico knows about immigration and borders.
The Obama administration brought a lawsuit to stop SB 1070, saying immigration laws are the business of the federal government. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department might produce another lawsuit if there is evidence of racial profiling.
People around the country donated cash to help the Arizona government defend itself. About $500,000 was collected, and as of Thursday, July 8, 9,057 people had contributed. The feds filed suit only two days prior.
At the National Governors Association summer meeting, Democrats got together to fret over the lawsuit. It shifts the focus and makes it hard to talk about jobs, they said. And it could put pits in the campaign trails of Democratic candidates in the West. Gov. Bill Richardson told the New York Times he thinks the lawsuit a good idea and said the other guvs are misguided. But he's not running for office. No word yet from Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
They'll All Want One
Gov. Dave Heineman (R-Nebraska) said in the same article that he'd bet money on every state in the country dealing with bills like Arizona's come January. Mississippi is the latest state heading in that direction, but many others have indicated SB 1070 cousins are in the works.
SB 1070 as Sushi
Stingray Sushi of Phoenix and Scottsdale created the SB 1070 roll, which includes pico de gallo. It's served cut in half with a wasabi border ripping through the middle of the chicken, avocado, white fish and cilantro special.
Protests and Baseball
Even the Major League Baseball Players Association denounced SB 1070. Many groups are calling for Major League Baseball to yank the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona. Voces de la Frontera rallied outside the offices of MLB Commish Bud Selig's offices in New York on Tuesday, July 13. A website devoted to the issue: movethegame.org
But What Does It Do?
SB 1070 requires police officers to check on citizenship when there is reasonable suspicion that a person may be in the country illegally.
Reporter Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times pointed out in an interview with the Alibi [Feature, " Climate Check: Arizona" May 20-26, 2010] that an Arizona officer can do an immigration check during the enforcement of any municipal, city, county or state ordinance, including minor infractions like letting your weeds get too high in your front yard.