Why I am in Arizona for Mother's Day

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

First, I forgot my laptop at the office. Then, my luggage in a friend's car. Finally, I breached security waiting lines at the airport to make my flight on time.

I am in Arizona this weekend as part of the women's movement to participate in a fact-finding delegation to investigate the impact of SB 1070 on the women of Arizona. The emergency delegation was called by the National Domestic Worker Alliance in partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Tonatierra and Puente Arizona.

We hold this truth to be self-evident that SB 1070 is not only an attack on immigrant communities and people of color, but that it codifies violence against women. An assault on immigrant communities is also an assault on the work of the women’s movement to break injustices based on gender and sexuality.

Organizations in Arizona are reporting that incidences of violence against women are increasing in the wake of SB1070. In addition, the climate of fear is creating a dangerous situation: women are avoiding hospitals and other important social services. They are afraid to report crimes such as domestic violence. Unscrupulous employers have freer reign to exploit and harass immigrant women workers. And now that seeking work is a crime, working women in Arizona risk deportation and separation from their children and families more than ever before.

The draconian SB 1070, even with revisions, has implications for women nationally. Laws like SB1070 are being considered in a dozen states nationally, and policies promoting local law enforcement of immigration policies are already in effect in localities around the country. This is a crucial moment to turn the tide on enforcement-based immigration policies and therefore to create a safer climate for immigrant women and all women.

There is fear. But there's also resistance. And that is why I am in Arizona this weekend.

What will the Emergency National Fact-Finding Delegation do?

· This delegation of women leaders and journalists from across the country will attend the Mother’s Day gathering of women in Phoenix and document their stories.

· The key findings from these gatherings will be released in a press conference on Monday at the State Capital and presented to the Mayor of Phoenix and the Governor of Arizona.

· The participants in the fact-finding team will then release a national statement on their findings. The statement will include action steps for women’s organizations at local, regional and national levels. This statement will provide the basis for a national Women’s petition calling on President Obama to issue an Executive Order nullifying SB1070.

· The women of Arizona, together with the fact-finding team, will then bring their stories directly to Washington. We will call for a meeting with Michelle Obama to discuss the results of the Mother’s Day investigation. In addition, we will ask for a meeting with members of the Congressional Women’s Caucus to discuss the findings. We call upon our women in office to take action to address the crisis before it spreads any further.

Litigation may not resolve this issue in due time but an Executive Order from Obama to nullify laws like SB 1070 and rescind 287 (g) programs, which allow local police to act like immigration officials, is something that can be done immediately.

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