April 18, 2016
Mr. Doug Yonko,
Over six weeks ago we reached out to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to share our concerns about the wave of anti-immigrant bills at the Arizona State Legislature and to ask for your support in stopping them. We believe our conversation was productive and you demonstrated a respect for our political approach in defeating these legislative proposals. You committed to having a follow up with us, but unfortunately we never heard back from your office.
We were then very pleased to see the AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Phoenix Leadership put forward a letter to Governor Ducey only a couple days after HB2451 arrived at his desk condemning the anti-immigrant bills. The bills outlined in your letter matched exactly the bills of concern we had shared with the AZHCC . We were happy that without having any further meetings with us, the anti-immigrant sentiments of these bills were clear to you, and you had chosen to stand on the side of the community you claim to represent. We thought it was courageous that you were willing to go up against the broader and more conservative Arizona Chamber of Commerce, who we felt had been used as a cover for Governor Ducey to sign HB 2451.
You can imagine our shock and disappointment when we read your letter to Governor Ducey retracting your support for the veto of HB 2451, after the bill was signed. We are completely appalled at your willingness to abandon your stance without first having conversation with our community.
HB2451, which would repeal a statute that allows the Arizona Department of Corrections to release an incarcerated person with a deportation order to Immigrant Customs Enforcement for deportation after they have served at least 50% of their sentence, is an anti-immigrant bill.
Currently immigrants are triply punished for their offenses. Being transferred to ICE usually means two things 1) being uprooted and ripped away from family, community and one’s own country permanently or 2) spending months and even up to several years in a federal immigration prison going through immigration proceedings.
HB 2451 is a gross move to capitalize on the current climate of fear mongering and scapegoating of immigrant people in the US. We believe it is an effort to put millions of dollars into the pockets of the private prison industry, into the pockets of corporations like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), who is a member of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
We hope you will work with us in good faith to defeat the remaining anti-immigrant bills (SB1377, HB2024, HB2223, HB2370 ) you have taken a position against in your letter to Governor Ducey and a slew of others that are currently being considered at the State Legislature.
Center for Neighborhood Leadership
Justice That Works
Puente Human Rights Movement