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Arizona Latino voters are ready to reject the GOP’s hateful rhetoric and dystopian policies

Op-Ed by Alejandra Gomez, Living United for Change in Arizona

“Senator, they have to go back.” 

Those are the reprehensible words of a MAGA Republican state representative in Arizona defending an amendment that targets DACA recipients with deportation. 

Arizona Republicans are now voicing the quiet part out loud when it comes to House Concurrent Resolution 2060, an anti-immigrant initiative they hope to place on the ballot this November. They want to open the floodgates of persecution and racial profiling on Black and Brown Arizonans. 

Republicans want to see Dreamers and their families jailed and deported. They want to see Donald Trump’s vision of ending birthright citizenship, deportation camps and mass deportations become a reality. 

HCR2060 is a reckless bill that reaches far beyond the border, threatening to devastate immigrant communities hundreds of miles away. It does nothing to address the humanitarian crisis at the border. Instead, it is a cynical ploy to use Arizona as a testing ground for the extreme policies championed by Trump. 

This bill is designed to incite fear and rally a political base who needs their red meat at the expense of communities, and real, effective policy solutions.

We’ve seen this before in Arizona, before Trump was Trump. There was Jan Brewer, Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio — all key figures in the passage and implementation of SB 1070, the state’s infamous “Show Me Your Papers” law.

We are no strangers to politicians promoting bad policies full of hate and racism. Fourteen years ago, SB1070 inflicted immense harm to our state’s image, economy, and to the very communities that built this state. It was extreme cynicism and hate turned into policy, that led raids into our communities, tearing families apart, and forcing many more to leave to escape persecution. 

And here we are again, in 2024, with a Republican Party still clinging onto power by the narrowest of majorities and using that power and authority to weaponize hate and cynicism. 

But just like SB1070 galvanized an entire community to mobilize, take power back and ultimately defeat the architects of the nativistic law, we are once again at a pivotal turning point for our community in Arizona. This is not 2010, it’s 2024 — four years after Latinos mobilized to the polls in Arizona and delivered the state to President Joe Biden, winning Arizona by just 10,000 votes. We made the difference. 

We will show them that their strategy has failed. We will remind them of who we are.

While pundits talk about Democrats losing Latino voters, and Republicans gaining their support, that is not what we’re seeing on the ground. In Arizona, the Latino community is poised to reject MAGA Republicans, and the masterminds of HCR 2060. Latinos are ready to mobilize against the very Republicans who take every opportunity to attack their community, and their families for political gain.

We will not stand by while politicians continue to inflict harm on our communities. Latinos in Arizona are poised to reject this perverted narrative and vision for our country. We understand that the real issues we face — such as affordable housing, job opportunities, and access to health care — are being neglected in favor of a fear-driven agenda that does nothing to improve our lives.

A recent Latino Community Foundation poll shows that Latinos in Arizona are most concerned about the cost of living and inflation, jobs and the economy, housing affordability, gun violence, health care and reproductive rights.

Immigration and the border doesn’t break into the top five for Latino voters. 

This poll validates what we already know after years of painstaking organizing. It is not that Latino voters don’t care about immigration. Of course they do. 

Latinos want to support solutions like comprehensive immigration reform. But they don’t buy into false narratives, scapegoating, and hateful rhetoric spewed by MAGA Republicans in Arizona.

Make no mistake: Arizona isn’t going back. LUCHA will knock on over one million doors this year and mobilize Latino voters to the polls in November to reject the Arizona GOP who continue to attack our humanity, dignity, and rights in a bid for power. We will show them that their strategy has failed. We will remind them of who we are.

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