By Scottsdale Pinetop
It only seems like yesterday when Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed the state’s notorious anti-immigrant bill, S.B. 1070, into law in 2010. And while most of the law was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. US (2012), it became the foundation of the Republican Party’s stance on immigration.
Fast forward eight years, it seems like déjà vu all over again for Arizonans. The recent chaos of the Trump administration’s handling of immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border underscores the important role immigration will play in the midterms in Arizona.
These past few weeks, Arizonans young and old took to the streets shouting their support to keep families together and reverse President Trump’s “zero policy” towards undocumented immigrants. On the other side of the political spectrum, Trump supporters argue that Trump’s immigration policy is exactly what the country needs.
Immigration is already playing a central role in the competitive Arizona races. Representative McSally is citing her border expertise as one of nine House members whose districts touch the southern border. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is positioning himself has the only candidate who understands the ins-and-outs of fighting illegal immigration. And popular conservative Kelli Ward has pledged to support building a border wall.
On the state level, Ducey isn’t shying away from his role as a border state governor. Launching his re-election slogan, #SecureAZ, one of his major political goals is the creation of the Border Strike Force. This effort seek to address issues at the border by relying on the collaboration between law enforcement groups.
Unfortunately, Arizona’s anti-immigrant and state’s rights supporters have played an even more troubling role in the court of public opinion. For years, that opinion has been the denial of immigrant contributions to our communities and the marginalization of immigrants. However, this may be changing along with Arizona’s demographics.
The good news? After years of resistance, a broad coalition of Arizonans have decided to take a stance against extremists, including long-time human rights groups and Dreamers. Each political party will have their own story to pitch to voters within their own party, across the aisle and to independents seeking a middle ground. For Arizonans, immigration is a personal issue and an issue many voters will be paying attention to this fall.
By Scottsdale Pinetop