Brophy students not immune to national impact
By Ulises Araiza ’11
From the marble halls of Washington, DC to the Arizona state capitol near downtown Phoenix, immigration reform is taking center stage.
Since Arizona lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1070 last spring, its impact quickly spanned across the nation—and even onto Brophy’s campus.
While some students praise the law as a solution to a national security issue, others say it causes fear in their households.
After months of heated arguments and manifestations, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, better known as SB1070, went into effect on July 29.
The law, which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer April 23, makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without the proper documentation. Nationally, SB1070 is regarded as one of the strictest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country and is also credited with making Brewer a household name.
However, on July 28, one day before the law went into effect, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction blocking several sections of the law, saying “There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens … Preserving the status quo is less harmful.”
Among the parts of the law Bolton temporarily blocked are the portion that requires an officer to make a reasonable attempt to determine a person’s immigration status, the portion that criminalizes someone for not carrying their “alien-registration” papers and the portion that allows an officer to make a warrantless arrest of someone who has committed a crime that makes them removable from the United States.
The portion of the law that makes it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented immigrants was not struck down and went into effect July 29 with the remaining portions of SB1070.
Being in the heart of Phoenix, Brophy is not exempt from SB1070’s reach.
An informal poll on The Roundup’s website indicated about 60 percent of respondents do not believe SB1070 is the correct way to stop illegal immigration in Arizona while about 40 percent do.
Many students believe the law is hurting the community.
“Every time I go around the west side of central Phoenix, I see less and less people out and about and more houses being foreclosed or abandoned,” said Manuel Siguenza ’12.
“As far as businesses go, my father’s business has plummeted because his main clients were mostly of Hispanic descent. People that I know who used to live comfortably are now scared, and they are hardworking people who came here to seek a better life.”
Siguenza is not the only Brophy student who has witnessed changes in the community since the law.
Another student, whose name The Roundup agreed to withhold, has actually felt the impact of the law at home.
This student’s father is in the country illegally and said that since the law took effect his parents have been cautious to leave their house even for simple tasks such as going shopping.
“They used to go to lots of parties and go out to the stores and shop a lot, but ever since the bill took effect my parents have been at home a lot and haven’t really been going anywhere,” he said.
He said his father was calling friends and relatives in other states to see if there was any work available, potentially following in the footsteps of other undocumented families who have fled Arizona.
However not everyone is opposed to SB1070.
Patrick Wolf ’11 said he is in favor of the law because it takes federal immigration law to the local level while creating a way for authorities to enforce the law.
“I do see how the wording in the bill could possibly lead to racial profiling, but to say that profiling doesn’t already exist in law enforcement would be ignorant,” Wolf said.
“It may not be fair that Hispanics be forced to carry around legal documents,” he added. “But we do the same with driver’s licenses and state issued identification cards so I don’t see a real problem in this.”
Wolf said he believes that down the road this law, if upheld, will not be such a big deal and will be “taken for granted in our everyday lives.”
Comprehensive Reform Needed
So what is Brophy’s stance on SB1070?
According to Brophy President Fr. Eddie Reese, Brophy does not have an official stance on this specific piece of legislation, but rather the hope of the Jesuits and the Catholic Church is that there will be a comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think this particular bill was ill-borne and is not going to do what people want. It’s a bit of distraction from comprehensive immigration reform,” Fr. Reese said.
“We need a just way for the people who are already here to get legal status. We cannot deport 11 million people … also through law enforcement we need to take control of the criminal element that is getting in, but (enforcement) is not where you start, because that isn’t working.”
Amongst the many possible problems with SB1070 that worry Fr. Reese is the separation of families as many U.S. legal residents or citizens have family members such as parents or older siblings who are in the country illegally.
“Kids who were five-years-old when they came to this country do not have a country to be deported to,” he said. “They’re Americans.”
Fr. Reese said he believes people are forgetting history.
“Today you can change Mexican or Hispanic to where you had Irish or Italian a few generations ago … it’s a repeat of what has happened in the past and we tend to attack the weakest, especially in an economic downturn. But some of the people who are doing the blaming right now, probably their families were the targets in the past.”
The Challenges Ahead
SB1070’s legal battle continues.
The state of Arizona plans to appeal Judge Bolton’s preliminary injunction in the Ninth District U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
More than 10 individuals and 14 organizations have filed lawsuits against Arizona over the law, including one from the federal Justice Department.
The city councils of Flagstaff, Tucson and San Luis have voted to join in the suits; however, none of them have taken legal action against the state yet.
It is speculated by many that the fight over the constitutionality of SB1070 will ultimately end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Four months into law, debate over SB1070 legality lingers – http://wp.me/pIfpv-A6
Reports, claims vary on SB1070’s economic impact – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zV
Staff Editorial: Immigration bill fails to solve issue – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zI
SB1070 promotes bigoted rhetoric – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zz
SB1070 defends Arizona borders – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zw