Consortium of Professional and Academic Associations Condemns Arizona Immigration Law

For Immediate Release

Consortium of Professional and Academic Association
Contact: 

Luis Fernandez, Ph.D., luis.fernandez@nau.edu, 928-523-5673
Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., ramster@prescott.edu, 928-350-2238

Consortium of Professional and Academic Associations Condemns Arizona Immigration Law

ARIZONA - A working group comprised of representatives from over a
dozen leading professional and academic associations has issued
a joint statement condemning Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) and related
state policies such as the prohibition against Ethnic Studies programs (HB
2281), calling for these laws to be rescinded. We, the Consortium of Professional and Academic Associations, believe that
these laws are inherently unjust, and that their application threatens to inflame
anti-immigrant sentiments and undermine constructive solutions to the
challenges faced by communities in Arizona
and across the nation. We call upon the governor, legislators, and people of Arizona
to work diligently and swiftly to repeal these laws.

Our organizations include members from fields including
sociology, criminology, political science, peace studies, psychology, anthropology,
environmental studies, Chicano/a studies, and a multitude of related areas of
study. Our collective membership numbers more than 10,000 scholars, educators,
and activists, with many residing in Arizona.
The decision to join together in issuing the open letter below represents an
unprecedented and historical moment of collaboration. As academics and
professionals concerned about social and environmental justice, human rights,
and due process, we add our collective voices to those of many others from
across the country calling for the immediate rescission SB 1070 (and, as
amended, HB 2162) and HB 2281 in the name of equity, compassion, integrity, constitutionality,
and sound public policy.

Signatories to the joint statement include representatives
from the following professional organizations and academic associations, all of
which have issued individual statements or
otherwise indicated their opposition to and condemnation of SB 1070 and related
policies (additional signatories may be added to this growing list as organizations
finalize their support):

American Studies Association (ASA)

Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association, ASU (CLFSA)

Justice Studies Association (JSA)

Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS)

National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies (NACCS)

Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

Peace and Justice Studies Association
(PJSA)

Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR)

Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP)

Sociologists Without Borders (Sociologos Sin Fronteras)
(SSF)

A press conference
featuring delegates from these organizations will be held on Wednesday, May 19,
2010, at 1PM on the Senate Lawn at the Arizona State Capitol. Representatives
will each issue short statements, and then be
available for questions and follow-up discussion. Confirmed participants and
representatives at the press conference include:

Randall Amster, J.D.,
Ph.D., Executive Director, PJSA

Paul Espinosa, Ph.D., President, CLFSA

Luis Fernandez, Ph.D.,
Board Member, SSSP

Zoe Hammer, Ph.D., Program
Committee Member, ASA

Manuel de Jesus Hernandez G., Ph.D., Former National Chair,
NACCS

Marie Keta Miranda, Ph.D., Chair, MALCS

Devon Pena, Ph.D., President, NACCS

Michelle Tellez, Ph.D., Board Member, NACCS

Finally, by way of background and context, the following member
organizations have issued specific statements
condemning SB 1070, which can be found at these online locations:

SSSP: http://www.sssp1.org/file/Brewer%20Final%20Ltr%20-%20Arizona%20SB%201070.pdf 

PJSA: http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/resources/blogcomments.php?qwerty=79 

NACCS: http://www.naccs.org/images/naccs/ltrs/SB_1070.pdf 

MALCS: http://malcs.net/blog/?p=335
and http://malcs.net/blog/?p=349 

SSF: http://www.petitiononline.com/ssfbyctt/petition.html 

PsySR: http://www.psysr.org/about/programs/wellbeing/immigrationreform.php 

NAISA: http://naisa.org/node/189 

 

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May 17, 2010

To Governor Brewer, the State Legislature, and the People of Arizona:

We wish to express our deep concern with and unequivocal
condemnation of Senate Bill 1070, which you signed into law on April 23, 2010. By making it a state crime to be in Arizona without federal
authorization, and also making it a punishable offense to support someone
without the appropriate documents, SB 1070 criminalizes countless decent human
beings who live, work, pay taxes, and raise their families in Arizona. In addition,
the enforcement of such a constitutionally problematic law threatens everyone’s
civil rights in the process, and undermines the potential for fostering an environment
based on peace and social justice. We unanimously denounce this law and strenuously
urge that you rescind it in the name of compassion and human dignity.

We are all non-partisan professional organizations of scholars,
educators, and practitioners, with thousands of members from across the country
and abroad, committed to and knowledgeable about a wide range of social justice
and environmental issues. We count among our members numerous scholars and other
professionals who are among the most knowledgeable in the country on the
subjects of immigration, including undocumented immigration, and our legal and
political systems. While immigration reform in the United States may be overdue, we also know that using this to justify state
laws that usurp federal authority over immigration will create many more legal
and social problems than it resolves.

Moreover, we note that the combined effect of SB 1070 with the
prohibition on Ethnic Studies contained in HB 2281 creates an atmosphere of legislated
intolerance and racialized politicking that is simply untenable, unwise, and
unjust. Indeed, the simple fact that SB 1070 had to be amended, under pressure
following its passage, by HB 2162 (which sought to qualify the conditions for
officer contact) demonstrates quite clearly the inherently flawed and
potentially racist implications of this piece of legislation. We note here as
well that the purported “remedy” of requiring a “stop” before officers can
inquire further about legal status based a “reasonable suspicion” is equally
expansive in its application, and thus equally problematic. These alterations,
again adopted in haste following public pressure, will not provide sufficient
protection against racial profiling.

Police officers are not immigration officers. Putting them in the
position of enforcing federal immigration law will destroy the trust between
police officers and communities so essential for effective law enforcement. It
will also lead to unwarranted and prolonged detention of citizens and legal
residents, increasing the likelihood of civil rights litigation against police
departments, cities, and towns, and potentially damaging family units across
the state. Despite language ostensibly prohibiting racial profiling, this will
be the de facto reality of the law’s
implementation. Physical appearance, particularly being of Hispanic background,
will unavoidably remain the primary factor determining whether someone is or is
not asked to prove her or his citizenship or residency status. For all these
reasons, many law enforcement leaders across the country, as well as in Arizona, oppose this
law. It would be wise to heed the objections of the law enforcement officers
who are now faced with enforcing this unjust law.

For some, the stated intent of SB 1070 unequivocally is to cleanse
Arizona of its undocumented immigrants and their families, among them children
and other relatives born in the United States, as evidenced by the fact that
legislative supporters of this law have repeatedly and proudly described this
as part of a strategy to make life so unbearable for undocumented residents and
their families that they will leave the state. Any law whose goal and effect is
to drive an ethnic population to leave its place of residence is a crime
against humanity under current international law. The law will also have the
effect of separating cohesive family units, leading to increased
marginalization and immiseration among communities already facing grave
challenges. In this manner, SB 1070 risks making Arizona a pariah state
on the national and international stages.

Furthermore, whatever the intent, at minimum this law will create
a climate of fear so intense as to make low-wage workers even more vulnerable
and therefore much easier to exploit by unscrupulous employers. Denying
immigrant workers protections or otherwise making them more vulnerable does not
stop them from coming. Rather, it simply drives them further underground and
makes them more exploitable. Finally, the climate of fear and hostility that
this law will create is antithetical to the aims of promoting a more just and
peaceful world. By institutionalizing chauvinism and magnifying differences of
race and ethnicity, SB 1070 promises to enlarge the gulf between diverse
communities and pit groups against one another, rather than encouraging people
to work together to find mutually-beneficial solutions to challenging issues. Ironically, and sadly, the
net effect of SB 1070 will be precisely what is sought to be prohibited under
HB 2281, namely that it will in practice and principle serve to “promote
resentment toward a certain ethnic group.”

Opposition to this law has been rapid and strong, and is likely to
become even stronger, as more and more groups and individuals boycott the state
of Arizona and businesses based in Arizona.  We are aware as well of the ostensible
support in the state for the law, and therefore recognize the political
pressures that have led you to pass this law. But widespread support for a law
does not make it just; not long ago the majority of southerners supported
segregation laws. As Martin
Luther King, Jr. wrote in his landmark essay Letter from a Birmingham Jail, following the teachings of St. Augustine: “‘An unjust law is no law at all.’… Any
law that degrades human personality is unjust.”  It is especially in instances such as these
that strong moral leadership is needed, and we are appealing to the governor,
state legislators, and all concerned Arizonans to provide it. Please choose to
be on the right side of history and work to overturn this patently unjust law.
We thank you for your time and attention in this important matter.

Sincerely,

The Consortium of Professional and Academic Associations,
including the following:

American Studies
Association (ASA)

Chicano/Latino
Faculty and Staff Association, ASU (CLFSA)

Justice Studies
Association (JSA)

Mujeres Activas en
Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS)

National
Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies (NACCS)

Native American and
Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

Peace
and Justice Studies Association (PJSA)

Psychologists for
Social Responsibility (PsySR)

Society for the
Study of Social Problems (SSSP)

Sociologists
Without Borders (Sociologos Sin Fronteras) (SSF)

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