SB1070: Honoring A Decade of Resistance

Puente has been at the forefront of the fight against SB1070. We will continue to organize until our communities are free from racial profiling practices by law enforcement officials, and are able to live in our communities without fear of deportation. As an organization we remember the legacy of resistance we were able to create 10 years ago to fight SB1070 and continue to honor the organizational growth and community empowerment that has stemmed from our state. We mark the last decade as a monument to how far we have come in the fight for human rights in our state. As an organization we will continue to fight law enforcement officials who comply with ICE and who use racial profiling tactics to intimidate and separate our communities. We will continue to organize and build the community we need to fight against and repeal this policy.

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The passage of SB1070 represents a moment in Arizona's history where communities and organizations across the state came together to fight one of the nation's most egregious anti-migratory laws.

 On April 23rd 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (better known as SB1070). Republican Senator Russel Pearce introduced SB1070 to the Arizona state legislature with the intention of streamlining  statewide police state practices, whereby local law enforcement would be allowed the discretion to ask any person to disclose their immigration status based on reasonable suspicion. SB1070 served as the nation's catalyst law to enforce a statewide attrition through enforcement strategy. This meant passing a law so flagrant that it would restrict the rights and liberties of migrants, forcing them to self-deport or end up in the crimmigration pipeline.  

SB1070 was one of the most adverse immigration laws the United States had seen at the time; it would become the blueprint model for other anti-migrant states to follow. Our community refused to accept the passage and implementation of the law -- we fought back. Puente and countless other organizations and communities came together to create a unique model on how to fight back against 1070 and police/ICE collaboration.  As a human rights organization, we developed multiple different tactics to fight SB1070. 

We fought back using the following strategies...


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Photo by Diane Ovalle


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Our tactics

We Will Not Comply! Solidarity Through ‘Non-Compliance’: 

One approach to fighting  SB 1070 was through utilizing a “We Will Not Comply” strategy. Arizona citizens and residents that opposed federal and state anti-migratory policy were given the opportunity to show solidarity with immigrant communities though non-compliance. Anti-migratory law SB1070 depends on the compliance of citizens to perform the duty of carrying identification at all times in order to validate their citizenship status in the country.

On July 29th 2010, the same day that SB1070 came into effect, the Puente Movement launched a campaign of non-compliance that encouraged all individuals who were in opposition of SB1070 to protest the law by not carrying any state issued identification such as a driver's license or state identification card. Non-compliance is the practice of refusing to abet immigration policy by refusing to comply with state orders to report immigrants, deny help to immigrants, and carry identification. Citizens and residents who participated in non-compliance agreed to leave their identification cards at home and instead carry a slip that read “I am not carrying my ID in protest and non-compliance of SB1070 because I believe in human rights and stand in solidarity with immigrants.”

Comités en Defensa del Barrio & Curso de Defensa: 

A key strategy in fighting against SB1070 was developing  organized communities. In April of 2010, Puente launched Los Comites en Defensa del Barrio (Barrio Defense Committees) otherwise known as CDB’s. The CBD’s strategy was to organize neighborhoods in order to build community and solidarity while sharing organizing tools and education on rights (Know Your Rights). The goal of the CBD’s was to ensure that if any person came into contact with police or ICE, their community would be equipped and able to defend themselves, their families and neighbors. We established over 35 CDB communities across Maricopa County and trained other community organizations across the state with the model for local implementation. In 2011, when other states like Georgia and Alabama adopted and implemented their own versions of SB1070 copycat laws, Puente would also share this model to help defend communities across the nation from the Poli-Migra pipeline to deportation. 

Our Community Defense project would eventually transition into the creation and development of our Curso de Defensa (Community Defense Course).  Through our CDB model, Puente would develop a more extensive Know Your Rights (KYR) curriculum.  The Community Defense Course works to empower migrants through education and establish mastery of skills including Organizing 101 and KYR, which enable members to defend themselves from deportation. The Curso de Defensa is broken down into six-week class set courses that engage families in learning about the immigration system and developing organizing skills.

Students Against SB1070: 

The fight to stop SB1070 organized students from universities, community colleges, and high schools to play their part in educating and mobilizing students to take action and pressure Arizona leadership to stop the law. ASU students (MECHistAs) were the first to participate in civil disobedience on April 20, 2010 by chaining themselves in front of the Arizona State Capitol Building. These students were known as the Capital 9. 

SB1070 catapulted undocumented youth, DREAMers, to publicly state Undocumented and Unafraid. Although the risk of being undocumented was present, it was significant that young people were the ones who came out to represent their parents, families, and communities. During these times DREAMers did not know what the future of SB1070 held, but it was understood that they had to be organized and lead in the fight against the law. In May of 2010, for the first time undocumented youth were arrested as part of a civil disobedience action at the late Senator McCain’s office. It was the first time that individuals risked deportation to demand federal protections from deportation.

High school students organized walkouts across their school campuses in Phoenix and led peers to the Arizona State Capitol in protest of SB1070 and in solidarity with their families and communities. Students in Tucson, Arizona organized to fight the passing of House Bill 2281 that would end TUSD’s Ethnic Studies program. 2010 was a monumental year that sparked student activism across the state. 


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Photo by Parker Haeg

The Art Movement Against SB1070: 

The fight against SB1070 birthed an arts & cultural movement among our community. Artists came together and organized artist retreats with Puente and local organizations in Tucson to create the art that would bring color and life to our fight. Artists used their skill of stenciling, banner making, and screen printing to express artistic opposition in our protests and marches. Other artists created posters and images with messaging that empowered our communities and offered a counter narrative to the mainstream depiction of migrants pushed out by anti-migrant politicians and lawmakers. Photographers on the ground captured our fight and produced our own narrative on the human cost of anti-migratory laws. 

Photos by Diane Ovalle:

Photos by Chandra Narcia:

Photos by Parker Haeg:


Alto Arizona Art Campaign:

The Alto Arizona Art Campaign was launched in the summer of 2010 and focused on establishing creative resistance to SB1070. The campaign called on artists, writers, musicians, and poets who were opponents of the bill to take action through culture and art. The Alto Arizona Art Campaign was a collaborative campaign between Puente Movement and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. 

The posters on the left were used as part of our online virtual campaign for Alto Arizona. 

The Sound Strike: 

In Spring of 2010, Rage Against the Machine front man Zach de la Rocha created The Sound Strike, an artist boycott of Arizona. The Sound Strike called for artists and musicians to cancel all musical events and tour dates in Arizona in opposition to the anti-migratory law SB1070. Over 100 artists joined The Sound Strike and took action by cancelling events, participating in marches and protests, publicly speaking out against the law, and hosting fundraisers to support communities on the ground. 

Human Rights Zones: 

In 2010, Puente Movement, No More Deaths (Tucson), Derechos Humanos (Tucson), and Tierra Y Libertad (Tucson), created Human Rights Zones. Guided by the community, we identified the need to support locally-owned and small businesses that supported the fight against SB 1070, 287(g) agreements and “Secure Communities” programs. Human Rights Zones were businesses and locations that agreed not to question any patron on their immigration status or allow police or ICE to conduct an arrest in their place of business. 

Businesses who were pro-migrant/community and anti-SB1070 agreed to become supporters of the Puente Movement. These businesses were given the HRZ decal to post on the front windows of their businesses, making Human Rights Zones easy to identify. The implementation of Human Rights Zones in Phoenix and Tucson was a strategy that created community-safe locations where both migrants and allied citizens could shop.