Talking about Arizona’s S.B. 1070, an alarming and incredibly wrong-headed bill, provides immigration advocates with a chance to show the American public the dangerous consequences of anti-immigrant fervor. This is a prime opportunity to unite our voices around the three common themes of the core narrative that immigration advocates from around the country have developed and promoted: We need workable solutions that uphold our nation’s values and move us forward together. We recommend the following:
- Use the narrative. The more we use the same main themes when talking about immigration, the more we can start to control the larger story and drown out the divisive voices that have dominated the discourse for too long. To this end, we recommend that all messages be built around the narrative themes.
- But tailor it to your audiences. Using common themes does not mean we need to use the same messages. We can tailor language, statistics, metaphors, etc. to best suit each of our audiences. But sticking to the same themes is important.
- Messages about Upholding Our Nation’s Values can underscore the importance of fairness, justice, and equality, while talking about standing up for the kind of country we want to be.
- Workable Solutions can be messaged by pointing out the impracticality of the bill, that it makes law enforcement’s jobs more difficult, and that it’s not the kind of solution we need.
- Moving Us Forward Together is a reminder to tell audiences why the bill is bad for everyone, while also dividing communities.
- Include positive solutions. This is an opportunity to talk about what does work, not just attack a policy that doesn’t.
Talking Point Examples
This law is impractical, violates our values, and divides our communities. We need real solutions that embrace fairness, equal treatment, and due process. Our immigration system is broken, but disregarding our values is not the answer to fixing it. Congress needs to act now.
This law is racial profiling, pure and simple. And singling people out based only on stereotyping isn’t just wrong, it’s also bad policing. Our communities need Congress to focus on workable solutions that uphold our values, and move us all forward together. Fixing our immigration system the right way is about what kind of country we want to be. This law certainly illustrates what we don’t want to become.
The problems facing our communities are the result of a failed immigration system that only Congress can fix. Its inability to move forward on this issue will continue to result in wrongheaded, unworkable policies like this law, which is a dangerous distraction from the real work we need to do to pass comprehensive immigration reform that works for everyone.
Solutions, Values, All of Us: A Common Narrative Emerges on S.B. 1070
We’re not alone in describing this bill as unworkable, divisive, and a violation of American values.
Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes for example the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. In fact, I’ve instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.
I don’t think this is the proper approach … It’s difficult for me to imagine how you’re going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement, and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well.
The provisions of the bill remain problematic and will negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner. While AACOP recognizes immigration as a significant issue in Arizona, we remain strong in our belief that it is an issue most appropriately addressed at the federal level. AACOP strongly urges the U. S. Congress to immediately initiate the necessary steps to begin the process of comprehensively addressing the immigration issue to provide solutions that are fair, logical, and equitable.
Should this bill become law, working families across Arizona will suffer. America should be in the business of protecting communities and protecting working families, not destroying communities and ruining everyone’s well being.
Our highest priority today is to bring calm and reasoning to discussions about our immigrant brothers and sisters. We are a nation of immigrants, and their commitment and skills have created the finest country in the world. Let’s not allow fearful and ill-informed rhetoric to shape public policy. Let’s put a human face on our immigrant friends, and let’s listen to their stories and their desires to improve their own lives and the good of the nation.
About S.B. 1070
The Arizona State legislature recently passed a bill entitled, “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (S.B. 1070),1 which, among other provisions:
- Requires police officers to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person whenever there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present and verify that status with the federal government;2
- Gives police officers authority to conduct warrantless arrests of persons for whom the officer has probable cause to believe have committed any public offense that makes those persons deportable;3
- Creates a private right of action for any person to sue a city, town, or county for failing to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent possible;4
- Requires employers to keep E-Verify records of employees’ eligibility;5
- Establishes a separate state offense, with attendant criminal penalties, for any person to violate provisions of the federal immigration law regarding registration and carrying registration documents—making it a state crime for a person to be an undocumented immigrant under federal law;6
- Makes it a criminal offense to attempt to hire or pick up day laborers to work at a different location if the driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, for a worker to get into a car if it is impeding traffic, or for an undocumented immigrant to solicit work (by a gesture or nod) in any public place;7
- Mandates the impoundment of any vehicle used to transport, move, conceal, harbor, or shield an undocumented immigrant;8 and
- States that the remaining portions of the bill are severable and will remain in effect even if certain portions are held to be invalid.9
1. “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” Ariz. S.B. 1070 (2010).
2. Id. at 1, Sec. 2 § 11-1051(B).
3. Id. at 1, Sec. 2 § 11-1051(E).
4. Id. at 2, Sec. 2 § 11-1051(G).
5. Id. at 7, Sec. 6 § 23-212(I).
6. Id. at 2-3, Sec. 3 § 13-1509.
7. Id. at 5, Sec. 5 § 13-2928 (A)-(E).
8. Id. at 5, Sec. 5 § 13-2929 (B).
9. Id. at 16, Sec. 11(A).