Opponents: Bill 'hateful, motivated by racism' - East Valley Tribune: News

Opponents: Bill 'hateful, motivated by racism'

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Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010 5:03 pm | Updated: 3:46 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

As Gov. Jan Brewer signed one of the toughest immigration bills into law Friday, Hispanic groups and many religious leaders are rising up in opposition, calling the bill “a slap in the face,” “political suicide,” and “hateful and motivated by racism.”                                           

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As Gov. Jan Brewer signed one of the toughest immigration bills into law Friday, Hispanic groups and many religious leaders are rising up in opposition, calling the bill “a slap in the face,” “political suicide,” and “hateful and motivated by racism.”

Napoleon Pisano, a member of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, said even though he was born and raised in Arizona, he is now considered a “person under suspicion.” Pisano, a Mesa resident, is a Vietnam War veteran and said despite defending the U.S., he now has to prove he’s a citizen.

“I see Arizona going backwards versus forward,” Pisano said. “There’s no question in my mind that racial profiling will become more rampant. A percentage of police officers will see this as their opportunity to enforce something that they should not be enforcing. They will be stopping people of color and demanding documentation.

“It reminds me so much of what happened during the early part of WWII when you had the criminalization of Jews because they are Jews,” Pisano added. “Now you have the criminalization of Hispanics because they are Hispanics. You got to prove your innocence now vs. the government proving you’re guilty. It’s definitely a sad day in Arizona as this law goes forward.”

The Arizona Hispanic Republicans said SB 1070 “is a direct slap in the face to Hispanic Americans” and called the passage of the bill “political suicide” for Brewer, according to a statement.

“(Gov.) Jan Brewer’s decision will mark today as the day in which Hispanic Americans will follow the footsteps of the great Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,” according to the statement. “(Sen. Russell) Pearce, (R-Mesa) and Brewer do not see the unintended consequences of their actions, and it appears that they were willing to make decisions that affect us at the cost of trampling on our Constitutional rights.”

Whether the bill will ever be enforced remains to be seen, with many groups saying they will file lawsuits.

Chris Newman, the legal director with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which represents day laborers throughout the country, said they are going to take “appropriate” legal action to prevent the bill’s implementation.

“This bill is hateful and motivated by racism,” said Newman, who was in Phoenix Friday from Los Angeles. “It’s pre-empted by federal law. We live in the United States of America and we do not want to be divided by 50 different state policies on immigration. Arizona is distinguishing itself from the rest of the country in a way that the country will condemn.”

Arizona clergy had urged Brewer to reject the immigration enforcement bill “for the good of the state of Arizona and its people.”

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson said SB 1070 is “inadequate legislation” and “will not address issues of concern” of drug and human trafficking and border security.

“Hopefully it will become clear that it’s not a good law and will never be implemented,” Kicanas said by phone Friday from Tucson. “We need to implement measures to address border security, including drug and human trafficking, but not to pass legislation that will heighten fear and divide our community.”

Kicanas joined Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Bishop Jim Wall of Gallup, N.M., Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and Bishop Kirk Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona Thursday to urge Brewer to reject SB 1070.

Many think President Obama should be doing more to ensure the state border issues are being taken care of.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network is calling for Obama to come to Arizona for a noon Sunday civil rights rally and demonstration at the State Capitol. Newman said civil rights leaders from around the country will attend to “reassure that their civil rights will be respected.”

The Arizona Hispanic Republicans said if Obama had followed through on his promise to Hispanics to pass immigration reform within 90 days of his presidency, the Hispanic community would not be “experiencing the crisis” they are in now.

Armando Espinoza, president of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, is “very disappointed” Brewer signed SB 1070, he told the Tribune Friday.

Espinoza is a native Arizonan who now lives in Tempe and said the bill will challenge the Hispanic community to prove they are legal citizens.

“The impact upon our community would be devastating,” according to a Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens statement. “By allowing this to become law, it will only reinforce the misguided belief that legal status can be determined by looking at or listening to a person, which will accelerate the fracturing of our communities, distrust in local law enforcement and sets the stage for unconstitutional persecution based on racial, ethnic, religious, and linguistic identity.”

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