Think your New Mexico driver’s license will prove your citizenship in Arizona? Think again.
Note, I am not writing as a representative of any academic unit at UNM. Still, you ought to know my position. I am an assistant professor of American Studies and Chicano Studies (I hold a joint appointment in the American Studies Department and the Chicano/Hispano/Mexicano Studies Program).
It's not a policy or a policy change, says Mayor Richard Berry. Instead, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement setting up shop in the newly refurbished Prisoner Transport Center is an agreement. In fact, he says, the old policy is still in place that only allows Albuquerque Police Department officers to check into someone's immigration status if it's relevant to an investigation. But that’s not the case for the feds. Every single person arrested by APD or the county sheriff who ends up at the transport center in downtown Albuquerque will have their immigration status evaluated by ICE. "I want 100 percent of the people checked," Berry says in an interview. "I want racial profiling out of the equation."
One of the most heartening things about the immigrants rights movement today is the involvement by U.S. citizens who are people of faith. Thousands turned out in the streets around the country—side by side with immigrants—to demand humane immigration reform and to express outrage at SB 1070, the Arizona law that cracks down on immigrants. The concern for immigrants’ rights is mirrored in migration theology, a growing area of scholarship that examines what the Bible has to say about how we treat “the stranger among us.”
For New Mexicans to understand the issues pertaining to Arizona’s controversial new law, SB 1070, it’s necessary to grasp the history of how Arizona has dealt with racial issues since its establishment as a territory.
Rudolfo Anaya, New Mexico’s most celebrated writer, gave the Alibi this statement: "The recent anti-immigrants Arizona law is an assault on our basic civil rights. It is most hideous because it targets people of color. It should be protested by everyone. If there ever was a time for civil disobedience, it is now."