While Gov. Jan Brewer unceremoniously dumped her disgraced SB 1070 partner Russell Pearce from Arizona’s front seats at tomorrow’s historic Supreme Court hearingon the state’s controversial immigration law, the seminal voices of those most affected by Arizona’s punitive measures will remain in the shadows — and unheard, even in the landslide of media and political forums sure to follow.
Jeff Biggers: At a Congressional hearing on SB 1070 today, former Sen. Russell Pearce addressed Arizona’s legislation, along with former US Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo, and Todd Landfried, executive director of Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform. How do you think a testimony from an undocumented day laborer would have added to the hearing, in terms of daily realities and impacts of SB 1070?
Carlos Garcia: The voices that need to be heard in the SB 1070 debate are those of the people directly placed in the bill’s crosshairs. Our community is tired of being a political football that politicians on both sides kick around to score points for their own reelection. In the neighborhoods of Phoenix and across the state, immigrant communities are organizing to defend and advance their rights in ways that will benefit the entire country. When you defend the rights of those at the bottom, you lift everyone with you. When you defend the rights of anyone else, you leave someone behind. Immigrants are not valuable simply because we grow the crops in this country. Hearing from those on the front line would add the value of recognizing immigrants’ humanity and our capacity of visionaries who under the hardest of circumstances are rescuing democracy and justice from agents of intolerance in the state.
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