Over at Cure This my Twitter friend los anjalis blogged this video of Phoenix, Arizona police officer Paul Dobson talking about his opposition to SB 1070. "This law is - pure and simple - a racist law," Dobson says.
Thanks to los anjalis for also transcribing important portions of Officer Dobson's statement:
So under SB1070 I know that people will not call officers in the case of a real emergency. I could see this type of scenario: a woman is being beaten by her husband or her significant other. And, if I show up, and I develop reasonable suspicion, or LESS, even, that the person that is a perpetrator in this case, is in this country extralegally, i'm going to start heading in the direction of asking the victim of the case, are you here illegally? I will have to arrest both of them---I'll be required to---and both will be deported. It violates our calling to serve and protect. It violates, under our Constitution, the requirement to serve and protect.
That the racist law will deter women from seeking needed protections against domestic violence and could result in victims of abuse being deported with their abuser is an important point. My Physicians for Human Rights colleagues Kathleen Sullivan and Erin Hustings have made a similar point about how the law will affect asylum seekers who have fled abuse and torture in their home countries.
In 2009, J-H- was an asylum seeker living in Phoenix, Arizona. J-H- is a survivor of female genital cutting (FGC) in her African homeland. As a victim of and activist against FGC, J-H- was targeted and violently attacked in her country, and her home was burned to the ground. Fearing for her life and safety, J-H- fled to the US without good immigration documents, and with almost no material possessions.
In Arizona, J-H- was fortunate to find a volunteer lawyer who helped her apply to the federal government for asylum. Physicians for Human Rights was able to find a physician from our Asylum Network who was willing to evaluate J-H- in support of her claim to legal protection in the US.
Based on their experiences as advocates for immigrants, Kathleen and Erin elaborate on the type of concern expressed by Officer Dobson:
Past experience with campaigns of immigration raids has shown that legally present immigrants and US family members are more reluctant to take part in civic activities, visit family members, or seek medical help for which they are legally entitled if doing so exposes them to potential questioning and arrest. If SB 1070 had been in force last year, fear of accessing community services may have prevented J-H- from seeking the legal help she needed to obtain asylum in the US. A life of fear and insecurity could have added to the physical and mental suffering she endured due to FGM.
SB 1070 is scheduled to be enacted on July 29. Earlier in July, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona to invalidate SB 1070. This past week, a coalition of civil rights groups filed a separate lawsuit to block enforcement of SB 1070 while its constitutionality is assessed in the DOJ lawsuit.
- DETENTION AND DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW (SB 1070) (Detention Watch).