SB1070 drew national attention not solely because of the passage of SB 1070 but mostly from it’s protracted and aggressive war on migrant communities. A whole set of characters and protagonists motivated by hate and scapegoating have led to human rights abuses in Arizona for years. Arizona is a place where doctrines of hate are imported from white supremacist think tanks like FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) and IRLI (Immigration Reform Law Institute) and promoted by private prison corporations and passed by politicians with ties to racist organizations.
Hate mongering politicians in Arizona are more than just demagogues, they are strategists looking to implement laws to preserve what they see as a natural social order. Many of the groups associated with Arizona’s anti-migrant players draw inspiration from the likes of Samuel Huntington and former Democratic Governor of Colorado Richard Lamm. Both have been strong opponents of multiculturalism and immigration while advocating and supporting groups like FAIR, IRLI, and others. There essential argument is that diversity will weaken America. Thus, limiting immigration and accelerating “assimilation” is essential for continued American dominance.
In recognition of the lack of public support for mass deportations followers of Lamm and Huntington began to devise legal strategies that have the effect of mass deportation without the publicity of massive round ups. Much of these ideas came to fruition after years of strategy and organizing that is first outlined in notes and plans laid out in the infamous WITAN MEMOS. In these memos known White supremacists outlined strategies for manipulating immigration policy, infiltrating enforcement agencies and popularizing the concept of immigrants as “illegal.” Before the 1980s being undocumented was seen more so for what it is, a civil offense. But in the WITAN memos the early founders of FAIR understood that to conduct large scale deportation immigrants had to be criminalized in the minds of Americans.
After years of promoting the need for arrest and deportation “Los Haters” as we like to call them, decided to ante up on the concept of the undocumented as criminals by highlighting stories of migrant criminals. These groups ignore studies have that “repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.” Instead, Los Haters have highlighted single examples of migrant crimes in what linguist George Lakoff calls “Ideal Case Prototypes” – or using one salient example to represent an entire issue and in this case group of people.
Once migrant communities have been sufficiently demonized attorneys such as Kris Kobach and the Center for Immigrant Studies (CIS) have developed dangerous legal doctrines of Attrition through Enforcement and Inherent Authorities. These two hate doctrines must be understood to adequately understand what bills like SB 1070 are meant to accomplish. They are basically strategies to treat migrants so bad they will self deport as well as actual deportation, not in massive raids, but in mundane everyday interaction with law enforcement.
SB 1070 in Arizona is just one of the many bills in Arizona that attempts to establish these doctrines as part of a round the clock way to accelerate police intervention in federal immigration matters. Just google either of those terms to see the chain of op-eds, so called ‘legal studies’ and proposed laws that these groups have been systematically moving into towns, cities, and States.
However, this ingenious, if evil, plot cannot exist without the support of local law enforcement, as well as legislative and executive political bodies. Thus, Arizona has become ground zero for the right’s latest cultural war. In a sense, it is a laboratory of hate.