By Caitlin Parker
The bill, which was signed into law April 23, made it legal for police officers to request evidence of citizenship during a lawful stop. Illegal immigrants at least 14 years of age are required to register with the U.S. government and acquire proper documentation. Carrying these documents is now imperative to avoid facing a misdemeanor charge, explained the panelists.
Panelist Alan Gomez, a professor at Arizona State University, attributed such violent treatment of indigenous people to the border control's acting on the premise that "hierarchies within humanity" rightfully exist, and those on top are lawfully endorsed to enforce power.
"You do away with people's ... ability to dream and have their culture, and you limit their ability to move," he said, emphasizing that the law invokes an atmosphere where "there's an expectation of certain communities [acting] to police other communities."
This expectation of racial prejudice is troubling when considering younger generations brought up under such mentalities, he said, and how these mentalities will affect their treatment of racially diverse communities.
Panelist Margo Tamez, an assistant professor at University of British Columbia, who has interviewed Native Americans affected by the law and worked closely with various Native American tribes, remarked that indigenous communities have directly felt the Mexico-United States border wall's segregating consequences. On a physical scale, they have lost access to burial sites and other important traditional locations, she said. On a socio-cultural scale, they are losing the tribe's inherited sense of identity.
So the precise harm of SB 1070 to Natives isn't clear from this article. Even the wood-chopping case wasn't necessarily a result of SB 1070.
To be clear, I'm sure the harm is real. But I would've liked to hear more specifics from the panelists or the reporter.
For more on the subject, see Keep Arizona Safe...from Indians and Immigrant Beheading = Indian Scalping.