After years of debates, marches and protests against the highly volatile immigration initiative of Senate Bill 1070, the Supreme Court blocked the stop and ask for proof of citizenship clause as well as the anti- harboring clause. The national attention created by the controversial bill caused conferences and conventions to rethink spending money in Arizona. The neighborhood immigration sweeps created empty houses and apartments as well as creating abandon children who were forced to enter the child welfare system. The overall revenue loss was significant, as was the reputation of the welcoming state of Arizona. It was a dark time in Arizona history.
The hard fought battle to return the state to a rational stance on immigration has again stepped out of reason with a refusal to give up the fight to defend the immigration law. The newest proposal is to reinstate the blocked harboring statute.
According to Karen Tumlin, an attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, “It really shows very clearly that while the rest of the country is driving forward on immigration reform, the Arizona lawmakers are stuck in reverse.” The Governor’s Office lead attorney, Andrew Wilder, stated, “Our position is that Arizona should not be precluded by federal law from taking action to address criminal activity within its borders that affect the health, welfare and safety of the residents and citizens within its borders.”
The American Immigration Policy reports that 5.5 million children including 4.5 million U.S. born children live in a mixed-legal status family with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. The number of U.S. born children of mixed- legal or illegal status parents within the Arizona border is not currently of record. The reports from around the nation of families being fractured by an undefined, anti-humanitarian immigration system, has continued to separate families. America’s Voice reported one such family. Maria Perez, an American citizen, is fighting to have her husband and father of her three year old son and thirteen year old daughter, both American born children, returned to the family after he was deported on November 19th of 2013. According to America’s Voice over 1,000 families were separated on that day nationwide. The separation of families and the deportation of one parent has become an epidemic in the United States of America, a country founded by immigrants.
Imagine if you will what the consequences to mixed-legal families would be if suddenly the American born or naturalized parent was arrested and jailed for harboring an illegal alien, their spouse, parent or grandparent who abides at a residence within the Arizona border. The human injustice in the name of “taking action to address criminal activities (harboring a family member) within its border…” would indeed affect the health, welfare and safety of the families without parents…child abuse by any other name is still a civil and moral injustice in the name of a fractured and faulty law called SB1070.
The Unitarian Universalist Association as well as the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix has stood firmly on the side of love with a compassionate immigration reform stance. It is with this foundation of family values and immigration reform, the Unitarians along with other faith based advocates request that the voice of reason sound out against further insult on the children and families of immigrants whether legal or not. Write or call your representatives and remind them of their moral duty to protect the most marginalized citizens of America and Arizona…family members of undocumented residence within the Arizona border and beyond. Their stories must be heard.