On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1070 into law. Senate Bill 1070, commonly referred to as the “Show Me Your Papers” law, was an omnibus of Arizona anti-immigration measures, collecting a decade’s worth of unfounded fears stoked through the xenophobic, racist, and classist rhetoric of right-wing Arizona legislators. Since its passing, Arizona has become ground zero for issues like mass incarceration, police collaboration with ICE and Border Patrol, militarization, deportation, child detention, and family separation. Currently, 42,071 men and women are locked away in Arizona prisons. Our state incarcerates 877 people per 100,000 – the 8th highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.
Nationally, 1 in 3 people will be arrested by the age of 23, where nearly 1 in 100 people are currently in jail or prison, and where a Black person is killed by law enforcement or a vigilante every 28 hours on average. The damage from the failed war on drugs and decades of over-policing is compounded by the continued practice of utilizing such contact with law enforcement as pretext for additional migration proceedings and deportation when the person in question may be undocumented or a non-citizen. In order to effectively respond to these threats, Cities must both provide undocumented and other non-citizen residents effective protections and safeguards from immigration enforcement, while also reducing the over-policing and criminalization of immigrant communities, Black people, and other people of color, that leads to mass incarceration and deportation.
As a response to this crisis, the Sanctuary movement has once again taken center stage in national debate. People’s Defense Initiative seeks to help uplift the historical and Tucson-born Sanctuary Movement by launching an aggressive multi-year campaign which calls for the establishment of local policies which protect our most vulnerable city residents, especially those who are threatened under the current federal administration and targeted by law enforcement. As a true testament to the decades of Tucson resistance in the name of Sanctuary, the objective of this multi-year campaign is to uplift policies which ensure that our local government is committed to protecting and defending all people and upholding the self-evident truths that all people are created equal and endowed with the unalienable rights of life and liberty.
To this end, PDI is proud to announce our flagship Sanctuary City bill, the Tucson Families Free & Together initiative. With this initiative we are proposing amendments to the Tucson Code, Chapter 17, to: (1) prohibit city police officers and other city employees from detaining persons on the basis of a person’s immigration status and from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, except in circumstances expressly required under state and federal law; (2) prohibit certain collaborations between city agencies and federal law enforcement agencies; (3) provide for certification of certain visas for immigrant crime victims; and (4) provide for minimum record keeping and protocols for certain communications between city employees and federal law enforcement agencies.
We envision a Tucson that serves as a safe refuge for all people regardless of their immigration status, race, color, age, gender identity, ethnicity, ability to speak English, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status. By protecting all people’s constitutional and civil rights through reducing arrests, creating strong directives against profiling and strong separations between immigration enforcement and local government functions, we can ensure a community where everyone can thrive without fear of deportation or detention. Our intention is to translate the historically diverse and inclusive spirit of our community to real and legal protections for our neighbors.
All families deserve to be free and together. The time is now to take meaningful, purposeful, and lasting action.