SB 1070: One Year Later

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It’s been one year since Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 into law. Hear different perspectives on the nation’s toughest immigration legislation and its impact on the politics, economy, and communities in Arizona from Todd Sanders, president and CEO for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Petra Falcon, executive director for Promise Arizona; Daniel Pochoda, legal director for the ACLU of Arizona; and Daniel Ortega, local attorney and chairman for the National Council of La Raza.


José Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. I'm Jose Cardenas. Governor Jan Brewer signed one of the most controversial pieces of legislation a year ago. SB 1070. Boycotts, demonstration and court cases followed after its enactment. Supporters called law a success, while opponents say it was the wrong thing to do. Either way it's changed politics, business, and communities Arizona. A federal judge blocked the enforcement of the law's most controversial section but allowed other parts to take effect. Earlier this month the court of appeals upheld that ruling. Here with me now to talk about it is Petra Falcon, executive director for Promise Arizona, Daniel Pochoda legal director for the ACLU of Arizona, Todd Sanders, president and CEO for the Greaters Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and Daniel Ortega, a local attorney and chairman for the national council of La Raza. Thank you all for joining us on what's going to be a very packed session. So let's jump right into it. With respect to the political impact, Danny, a lot of people think Terry Goddard would be governor. But for SB 1070 and the boost that gave Jan Brewer. Do you agree?

Daniel Ortega: Terry Goddard was 16 points ahead at one point. And -- but for 1070, he would be governor today. No question about it. When you look at the service that he has provided this state in a number of capacities, his popularity as attorney general, his ratings were very high. And I clearly agree that but for 1070 he would be governor.

José Cardenas: We had a legislature that became more solidly Republican, basically veto-proof, at least on the issues that the governor was in agreement on. Was that a result of SB 1070?

Daniel Ortega: I think SB 1070 generally speaking, but when you consider the fact that there was a boycott on the state, a whole host of things, that people were trying to protect, they overreacted and went on the side of going with a more conservative legislature with a more conservative state government. So clearly 1070 was -- did all of this.

José Cardenas: Now Petra, on the other side of the issue, the predictions were that passage of SB 1070 would galvanize the Hispanic community, galvanize liberals, democrats, it would result in increased voter turnout. Did that happen?

Petra Falcon: Yes, it did, but I want to add what Danny was saying about -- what you said about the legislature getting stronger on the conservative side. I think what the message that we got from the voting population in November was that they thought that something had to be done about a broken immigration system. Because Congress didn't act, that they felt even SB 1070 was just probably a piece of that. So that was the message I think we were hearing at the voting polls. But in terms of the work that lots of organizations did across the state, there was even in a hostile environment as we had, there was a lot of division and a lot of despair and anger and fear, I think what we saw was a motivation, energy among new people, new registrations to go out and vote, and in Arizona, we actually from the last mid-term election, we saw 100,000 new voters at the polls from four years ago. So the answer is yes, we saw more energy at the polls, even at the national level. And hopefully that family that will continue to grow.

José Cardenas: 100,000 more Latino voters?

Petra Falcon: 100,000 more voters from the 2006 mid term election.

José Cardenas: What about the impact nationwide? At least initially it looked like this was going town expire copycat legislation across the country. And that doesn't seemed to have happened.

Daniel Pochoda: No, just the opposite. I really do think the clearest message from the past year has been opposition to 1070. That a rejection of -- deep and wide rejection to the politics of fear, the politics of race, that 1070 represented and represents, and that we saw countrywide a strong backlash against what happened in Arizona, and unfortunately for the majority of folks in Arizona, the state name has now been branded as one of bigots are and there's going to be a lot to live down as Todd knows better than I, it's certainly had a negative economic impact on Arizona. But the reaction across the country deep and wide and in the media was very much against it as it was deep here in the business Community business community in the courts, and in other areas. I really think -- and there has not been copycat legislation. And that defied all predictions. They had about 15-20 bills ready to go that stated the same thing. And there was a nationwide movement by some of the anti-immigrant conservative organizations, like FAIR. So far there has not been one bill that has pass and signed by a governor of any other state.

José Cardenas: And Todd, your organization saw both sides of that in terms of other states and discussion was groups in other states, and the initial momentum for copycat legislation, and then kind of a stepping back.

Todd Sanders: Yeah. It certainly was there. As a matter of fact, we actually hosted a delegation from Utah, and they had come to the state to really understand our law, and were looking at something similar until Utah. And what was surprising is to see them go the opposite way and have this compact now that I think recognizes that this is something that is a net gain or net benefit for the state.

José Cardenas: And you're referring to the Utah compact which you had leaders from all across the political spectrum saying these are these are the principles that should be considered enacting immigration legislation.

Todd Sanders: You bet. And I think they understood us -- they felt there was a very negative attitude toward the legislature, and from our perspective it's not, that but we really had big concerns with 1070 and the direction that we were taking with that particular law.

José Cardenas: How much of the hesitancy we see in other states to do something similar do you think was because of their concerns about economic impact similar to what's occurred in Arizona?

Todd Sanders: When I talked to the majority leader, I told him if you want to do what's right for your state, the majority leader of Utah, don't enact this law. If you want Arizona to Take this law and enact it, because this is certainly having an impact on us. So I think that is part of the consideration, and I think you mentioned immigration fatigue and I think that's part of it.

Daniel Ortega: I think what's important here is to recognize the boycott. By the way, which is organic, I don't know that anybody can take credit for the effect of this boycott, the negative impact economically on Arizona. But across the country whenever we talk to people they would say, we don't want to happen to our state what happened to Arizona. Look what the boycott's done and look at all the money they've lost. And number two, the image of the state. When Dan talks about the big image of the state of Arizona, they started talking about Alabama, and the '60s was probably not as far right as Arizona today with 1070. So you had two things working here. Economics and image. And clearly you had an impact on other states and whether they would consider it.

José Cardenas: Todd, you hear some sense of disagreement with how severe the impact was. Even the economists say it's hard to sort out the impact of SB 1070 and the boycott from the impacts of the recession.

Todd Sanders: And the boycott was a tremendous concern. What we try to tell folks outside of Arizona, most of the people you're impacting aren't down to the 1700 west Washington. They have jobs and families and this isn't the right way to go about this. But we have a few members I can talk about, one in particular that provides courtroom equipment around the country. Lost about $2.5 million deal, and this is about a 50-person company. They had to lay off five people. Another company was set to do a deal in San Francisco, that went down and that was about a $21 million impact. Their board of directors isn't based in Arizona, and the question they had to ask, why are we here? And that's what we're trying to say in terms of do we need to be doing this in in Arizona? Should we be focusing really on calling on the federal government and you're right, they really haven't done what they needed to do to take the reigns and actually start working on this problem. Maybe if you're going to have to start with securing the border, that's fine. But you have to start.

José Cardenas: I want to talk about the impact the federal level and particularly the political cost or benefits. But, Petra, before I get there, you mentioned 100,000 new voters. Increase in voters there. Have also been estimates as much as 100,000 people who were here unlawfully have left the state of Arizona. And good or bad, that's had a significant economic impact.

Petra Falcon: Absolutely. I think there was another report from the immigration council from Washington, DC that said that that if all unauthorized people or families were to leave, there would be a $49 billion economic loss to the state. But I think what we've learned in the last year, whether it was the immigrant rights organizations or not, even the business community is that what motivated people to act I think is that we no longer want to have a dispensary voided state. We don't want a hostile environment where families can't thrive. And so the business community wants to thrive, but so do Latinos. So I do think the energy behind the Latino community standing up and learning how to push back and the business community writing that letter was really learning how to push back on this legislature that really wants to continue on this path of saying no to a new immigrant community.

José Cardenas: Do you think, and this is open to everybody, the impact of the boycott in terms of the efforts, the anti-SB 1070 efforts, was good or bad? Because you've had people suggest it created a backlash, that may have helped conservatives get more power than they had, Congressman Grijalva has said it's a mistake. It may have almost cost him his election and it may have cost other democrats theirs.

Daniel Pochoda: I think as Danny said, under estimating the natural organic nature of this boycott. I have -- and I'm out of state, I know a lot of folks from out of state who work for organizations that were considering conventions and would not be associated with Arizona. Not because they have gotten a call from someone organizing an Arizona or knew Mr. Grijalva, but just as when the governor Meekam and Martin Luther King holiday and so forth, they didn't want to be associated with Arizona at this period of time. There's no question in my mind there was a number of conventions that didn't even consider Arizona and dropped them from any of the top three. And I say that's different than the people who have left, the points you've made, that it really is awfully difficult to ascribe the leaving to SB 1070. I think clearly the economic factors were much more important, and particularly in the fields and housing and so forth. Where a lot of folks were working. They no longer had jobs even possible in Arizona. So I think there's clearly been a negative economic impact because of 1070, I don't believe that the great majority, if any, of the people leaving were because of it. Though there's no question that those who passed it want to instill fear. That's their goal as they write in the preamble to SB 1070. Our goal is to have a new foreign policy to get rid of folks by attrition. That's stated in there, and the only way to do that is put in fear in the minds of folks and they've basically isolated Latino communities throughout the state, folks here illegally and undocumented.

José Cardenas: Danny does the NCLR have a different view?

Daniel Ortega: First, I think in the short run the impact on progressive community in Arizona truly paid the price politically in the state. When you look at where the legislature went, when you look at all the state offices, but I think if you look at it nationwide, what Arizona did and what progressives did in Arizona helped to keep these type laws from being enacted in other states. So we were -- at the forefront of not allowing this to happen anywhere else, and even though we had to pay the price and people did suffer consequences, they were horrible. Even Latinos lost their jobs as a result of this boycott. But when you take these extreme measures, you have to have extreme reactions. And we recognize that it hurt even the Latino community, but when you look at it nationwide, it truly helped for this not to happen anywhere else. So I think you've got to take a little of both. Admit you lost politically in Arizona, but you won nationally to have been a part of this boycott. And NCLR was at the forefront of encourage people not to come to Arizona, to hold their conventions here and to bring their business to Arizona. And we -- we got criticized, by a lot of our own groups. Even our -- there were affiliates who did not support our support of the boycott. But the bottom line is we had to take action for the good of all, not just the state of Arizona.

Todd Sanders: I would disagree with that. We had that conversation internally, respectfully and we -- the impact is too large. I think whether or not had you the boycotts, the 63 folks that signed on that letter and stopped those immigrations would have occurred, and I think would you have had the same result and I don't think those people would have suffered like they did. We had real people losing jobs. And I got to tell you, that's where we really were concerned with that impact.

José Cardenas: I want to talk about the business community's role on these issues, but before I do that, Danny, would NCLR support a boycott of baby's all-star game in July? Phoenix?

Daniel Ortega: NCLR is about to make a decision about whether it's going to -- what its role is going to be in the boycott here real soon. And all I can tell you is that it's reconsidering its position, and it doesn't want to get in the way of those groups that want to continue the boycott. It's just going to reevaluate its own position with regard to that, and you'll be hearing about that in about two weeks. So what we're going to do -- part of our effort was to encourage the boycott of the all-star game. And to remove it from the state of Arizona. But given what's occurred, especially with the cooperation of the business community, especially when you didn't see a lot of these draconian bills come out of the legislature this year the way we expected, considering what the courts have done in stopping 1070, NCLR is going to have hopefully a new position in the next couple weeks.

José Cardenas: Todd, the business community has gotten a lot of kudos from other segments of the community for the letter that you referred to, the 63 CEOs who sign add letter telling the legislature enough for now. Not saying it's good or bad, just, hey, we've had enough of immigration legislation. Some will wonder where the business community was when SB 1070 was proposed.

Todd Sanders: Well that's a fair question. And I would say in retrospect I would have liked to have done more. But I will say that if you look back, in 2005, 2006 that's when we started the employer sanctions. And that's what really led us to 1070 and what's interesting about that particular law is that it is correctly based on licensing in terms of what the Congress has outlined - who knows what the Supreme Court's going to say. But a lot of the things that you find in 1070 are also Ned Lamont employer sanctions law. The anonymous complaints, the complaints based on race, not solely, but they can be based on race. And these are the things we've been fighting for many years. So I think this is something where the business community has been present, I would argue for a along time we were the only ones fighting these things because it was geared toward business. But no question, I would have liked to have engaged at a higher level on SB 1070, and clearly I think the community saw that and decided that we need to take the fight to Congress and that's what we're doing.

José Cardenas: I think Petra wants to say something.

Petra Falcon: We're talking a lot about the business community. It's important, because we need our strong economy, but I also think we need to talk about what was happening to families at the same time. We were at the state capitol day in and day out for over 100 days and it became a community gathering place for families to come and feel safe. But because so many families are mixed families, we saw lots of -- the deportations, people leaving because they were afraid to stay, they couldn't walk the streets, they couldn't go to church or the grocery store, they couldn't go to the doctor. But those mixed families that are out there who no longer can find employment, their young children, their young teenagers, have become the heads of households and they're trying to support their families If they're still intact or the -- to leave their children behind. So there has been a lot of trauma because of SB 1070. Because they couldn't find jobs because the economy was decreasing so poorly. So again, we know the business community was hurting, but also in general the community families were really hurting and still are.

José Cardenas: Danny, you wanted to say something.

Daniel Ortega: I'm really grateful to the business community and what they did by signing that letter, but the bottom line is, it's my belief. The business community have have prevented SB 1070 from happening if they stepped forward in the same way they stepped forward this year. Simply te business community was nowhere to be seen back during 1070. And we tried to get them involved in the same way that they got involved in time. That's not saying I'm not appreciative or grateful for what happened. But we also got to call it the way it is and the business community was caught asleep at the wheel, because they did not want to bite the hand that fed them. And because they know darn well the legislature can make life miserable. And they recognize this time especially with more Republicans in the legislature this time than before with the governor and every state office. The business community had a lot of courage to do what it did this year. But the fear back then was even less, and they did nothing. So let's move forward now and really join together to try to build this economy, and the image of the state.

Todd Sanders: I like to have you sell memberships for me if you think have you that much power. I appreciate that.

Daniel Ortega: I said the business community.

Todd Sanders: I like to think that's the greater Phoenix chamber. I will tell you that I don't agree. I think we've seen that bill for many years pass throughout legislature. And partially we looked at it and did an engagement on it probably because we didn't think it was going to go. If you look at our track record, and what we've opposedd, we were out there doing things since I've been at the chamber that don't make a lot of legislators happy. And this year certainly we have a president of the senate who is nationally recognized as the leader in the immigration movement. We certainly got out there. I think it might be a mischaracterization, but I do appreciate your willingness to work with us, and we're willing to do it.

José Cardenas: Let me ask, Dan, somewhat similar criticisms of the Obama administration. Specifically with respect to the lawsuit that they filed. We had congressman Pastore here saying,"what's taking so long. Why are you taking so long to get involved?" And feel they should have gotten involved much earlier. Gratitude that they did for many, and of course many people are pleased with the results that they got.

Dan Pochoda: Yeah. We of course are very pleased. At the ACLU of Arizona with the national ACLU, and the immigration law center, brought an earlier --

[inaudible]

Dan Pochoda: With plenty others, yes. Brought litigation as it's the friendly house case, challenging 1070. And we very much assumed that the federal government would get involved. They couldn't get involved earlier at the legislative leg, they had to wait and see was being pass and what would be the impacts. And they analyzed it. It was a last-minute decision, but it was certainly timely in the sense that they got involved before the law went into effect. And it was the judge determined, judge Susan Bolton, the federal district judge, based on their representation that the Arizona law and we certainly agree with that and made the same allegations and arguments and demonstrations and proofs in our lawsuit, clearly was preempted by the federal regulatory scheme in the area of immigration. Clearly. And they should know this is the federal government coming in. I don't think they had any choice when the basis for the litigation was preemption, that is you're interfering with a federal prerogative, but the federal government is standing on the sideline. It may impact future willness to get involved in litigation concerning Arizona, that's meritorious. But here it would seem to say to us it was impossble, and happily they did get involved in a timely manner in the end and was there lawsuit the judge rules and held up the four most important provisions of 1070.

José Cardenas: We've got more to talk about. I want to make sure we do talk about another case, one that you just got a decision in.

Daniel Pochoda: Yes, we're very pleased, the ACLU of Arizona was the lead council with the immigration rights project of the ACLU with the decision just this past month from the federal district court in Arizona Sheriff Arpaio's raid practice and policies. The court found based on our motion papers that the sheriff's tactics were clearly unconstitutional, and had violated fundamental fourth amendment rights against unreasonable seizures of these folks in terms of the enforcement of the employer sanctions law, and found that the county would be liable because the sheriff represents the county in these matters. And that there was no reason or legality to their stop of these two folks own who is a U.S. citizen, and the other has been a lawful resident here for 30 years. And there was no basis for the arrest in taking these property onto the property of the HMI property. So that decision is a final decision of liability, they will be damages and they may on trial on the remaining aspects of the suit, which have to do with racial profiling, but not race. On a summary judgment motion, a very strong opinion found the policies and practices of sheriff Joe Arpaio in terms of workplace raid matters were unconstitutional.

José Cardenas: Speaking of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, what impact did SB 1070 have on him? To hear him talk, he was quoted in the paper last week, SB 1070 is no difference to him, he's doing what he's always done.

Petra Falcon: Well, that's right. And I think again, from the last year what we've learned is that we have to continue to build those relationships across the aisle to counter a person like all conservative Republican controlled state legislature. And I -- what we were talking about earlier about why the business community didn't stand up or hasn't stood up in other up stances, I think we should as the Latino community should be proud we stood up last year. We have been having it for years with bad legislation. It took SB 1070 to say, enough is enough. And I think it's great the Latino community and its am lies for the last year have been fighting back on the raids on Sheriff Arpaio. And I think that is going to really set a tone for the future about how we continue to organize and reach across the aisle.

José Cardenas: We'll have to end our interview. We will be back talking about the second year of SB 1070 I'm sure. Thank you all for joining us on "Horizonte." That's it for us tonight. For all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

Todd Sanders:President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce;Petra Falcon:Executive Director, Promise Arizona;Daniel Pochoda:Legal Director, ACLU of Arizona;Daniel Ortega:Local attorney and Chairman for the National Council of La Raza;

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