Something is “troubling” in Arizona

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 Protests, boycotts and lawsuit challenges of Immigration legislation is certain to follow


By Juanita Bratcher


After the Arizona GOP-led Legislature passed immigration legislation (SB1070) that would give police officers the authority to stop and question people about their immigration status, for probable cause, that is, those in opposition to the measure held their breath in hope that Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer would let sanctity prevail by vetoing the Bill.

However, that was wishful thinking. It didn’t happen. Brewer, with the stroke of the pen on April 23, signed the legislation into law and afterwards defended it. It was a “hot-button” issue, and after a barrage of criticism was flung her way, Brewer, days later, made amendments to the law. But it still didn’t curb criticism of the law.

As Shakespeare said in his Hamlet, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” There are many who think that “something is troubling in the state of Arizona.”

The quote was in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4, where character Marcellus says the famous quote, which in essence meaning “something is wrong.” 

President Barack Obama called the legislation “misguided”, and some civil rights activists called it a violation of civil rights. Although the Bill will not take effect until 90 days after the end of the current legislative session, it will probably end up in court before its effective date, if not shortly afterwards.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 60% of voters nationwide favored such a law, while 31% are opposed.

We are a country of laws, but certainly should be “fair” laws and not laws that infringe on one’s civil rights. Some say the Bill will lead to racial profiling.

Omar N. Lopez, of the United Immigrant Front (UIF), called it “The most racist bill ever, targeting the immigrant community…”

Lopez said the UIF is calling for a general economic boycott. “We ask that all immigrant families only buy the essentials for survival and only buy products from Mexico or Latin America. The purpose is to affect the economy of those who fund and elect the lawmakers who lack the courage to act in our defense in Congress and incapable of solving the immigration problem.”

Under SB1070, it would make it a crime in the state of Arizona if a person was in the country illegally; if there was reason or probable cause, police officers could stop and inquire about immigration status; and lawsuits could be waged against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, among other things.

By Arizona jumping the gun, with this new law, it in a sense usurps the federal government’s authority for immigration reform. However, some supporters of the Bill argue that the federal government has failed in its efforts to do what is necessary to deal with immigration.

Shortly after the bill was signed into law, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said the U.S. Justice Department would review the Bill, that there was the possibility that it could be subject of court challenge. Already, a couple of lawsuits have been filed, and others are exploring the possibility of a lawsuit.

In CopyLine Magazine’s February 1991 issue, an article entitled, “Dear Dr. King: The Struggle for Equal Justice Continues”, focused on Arizona, stating that 23 years after King’s death Arizona was locked in a bitter dispute over whether to celebrate his birthday, a national holiday, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

                    The article states: “Would you believe that 23 years

                     after your assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, the state of

                    Arizona is locked in a controversial dispute over whether to

                    observe your birthday as a national holiday. Former

                    Republican Gov. Evan Meacham set-off the sparks of that

                    fire when he rescinded the actions of his predecessor, former

                    Democrat Gov. Bruce Babbitt who, through executive order,

                    designated your birthday as a state holiday. After he rescinded

                    the holiday, organizations bombarded the state of Arizona

                     with convention cancellations to show displeasure with

                   Mecham’s actions; putting a stranglehold on the state’s



                    Although Meacham was kicked out of the Governor’s Office,

                   Partly because of the economic crunch he placed on Arizona

                   by rescinding the holiday (he had other problems as well), it still

                   remains an issue

                   With the stroke of the pen, your birthday was made a national

                   holiday by former President Ronald Reagan. However, I would be

                  remiss if I didn’t tell you that at last count there were three other

                  states that failed to observe your birthday as a national holiday

                – Idaho, Montana and New Hampshire.

               But despite opposition by these states to observe a holiday in your

                honor, it certainly will not take away from your greatness, your

               accomplishments, or the dream that you had for America, in any


              You see, there are those who share your dream, and are dedicated

              to keeping the dream alive, those things you spoke so eloquently of

              in your “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington Monument

             In Washington, D.C.

  • Brewer recently signed into law a Bill that would allow people in Arizona to carry concealed weapons void of requiring a permit.
  • And the Arizona House of Representatives’ controversial bill to force presidential candidates to produce evidence of citizenship in order to get on the ballot in Arizona, like in a birth certificate?

Much of these legislative doings are bound to bring some political backlash and political fallout for some of those who voted for and supported these pieces of legislation.

The late civil rights pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer coined the phrase: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”, which is often quoted by others.

But the legislative actions by some elected officials in Arizona tend to be troubling, and seemingly mean-spirited. And you can bank on Arizona’s economy suffering from another backlash – that which will be coming in the way of boycotts and cancellations of conventions, goods and services.

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