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Op-Ed: Arizona Republicans Want to Legalize Racial Profiling with SB 1070 2.0 Bills. But LUCHA says ‘¡Ya basta! ‘

By Alejandra Gomez, Living United for Change in Arizona



We remember the dark days of SB1070—when our neighborhoods were raided, entire families ripped apart at the seam, and communities lost. Many immigrant families fled the state out of fear, and many were deported. 

For those who stayed, we organized, mobilized, and ushered in a new era for Arizona. After more than a decade of hard work, Living United for Change in Arizona and other organizations labored tediously to take power from the hands of those who attacked our families. 


We built power with the community, elected allies to office, and reshaped Arizona’s political landscape. 


That’s right: the shift you have witnessed over a decade was not an accident. It was methodically planned and orchestrated by activists, organizers, and community members. 


Yes, we turned the page and brought Arizona out of its dark days, but now, in 2024, Arizona Republicans are working tirelessly to bring back even darker days – they are on a mission to create SB 1070 2.0. 


Policies focused on fear and chaos


Let’s call it what it is: Republicans are not interested in governing or solving problems. Their policies have time and time again failed the state and us. 

Their ticket to power is for chaos and fear to permeate throughout the state. That is why for decades, every legislative session has been filled with bills that attack working-class families, minimum-wage workers, women, and Black and Brown Arizonans. They throw red meat at their base, proposing incredibly racist, and anti-immigrant legislation knowing full well they are scapegoating entire communities for political gain.  

This year is no different. 


Republicans are at the precipice of their reign over the state legislature coming to an end—and, in a last-ditch effort to cling onto power, their move is to hogtie themselves to Donald Trump. But their approach is nothing new: once again, they are using Black and Brown communities as their scapegoat, and exploiting the humanitarian crisis at the border is central to their 2024 platform. 

As a result, 2024 has seen some of the most racist legislation since the days of SB 1070.


SB 1070 2.0 Bills: One down, three to go


Few bills stand as brazen testaments to bigotry and fearmongering quite like those introduced this year. Sponsored and championed by Republicans in the legislature, this abhorrent legislation seeks to revive the dark specter of SB 1070 and represents a dangerous trend toward extreme policies that threaten our civil rights.


Here’s what they are, and what they would do:

House Bill 2748, Senate Bill 1231, and HB 2821 aim to grant law enforcement and local officials unchecked power to enforce immigration laws—even if there are found to be no violations— shielded from any civil liability. 

This blatant disregard for accountability undermines the principles of justice and fairness, opening the floodgates for potential abuse of power and discrimination. By granting immunity, these bills embolden vigilante behavior, eroding trust in our institutions and endangering the rights of immigrants and citizens alike. 

SB 1231 was rushed through the legislature with limited input from the public and elected officials and was vetoed by Gov. Katie Hobbs. The other two are still being debated at the Capitol.


HB 2843 is perhaps the most egregious of all, as it effectively legalizes murder under the guise of property rights. This bill, championed by those with extremist agendas reminiscent of SB 1070, condones lethal force against unarmed individuals found on private land. 

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Republicans’ chilling testimony reveals a callous disregard for human life, where cruelty is not only tolerated but embraced as a means to an end. 

Imagine hiking in the desert, miles away from any home, but you unknowingly step on someone’s private property, would that constitute the use of lethal force? That’s what happened with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Kaylin Gillis in New York—but, where their murderers were held accountable, a law like HB 2843 would protect them from justice. 


The language is so broad, that simply stepping foot on someone’s land could result in your death. 


SCOTUS Decision on Texas SB 4 Serves a Stark Reminder


The current US Supreme Court has been highjacked by extreme Republicans with an agenda that is out of step with what most Arizonans support. Therefore it is no surprise to see the Supreme Court overstep its authority and land on the wrong side of history.  


Republicans are utilizing the High Court as a weapon to legislate and implement their fringe right-wing ideology. Much like Texas was given the green light to use law enforcement to arrest migrants under SB 4, if any of SB 1070 2.0 bills see the light of day, we can expect the Supreme Court to weaponize racial profiling and hate, and stand against our communities. 


But we have the power to ensure bills like HB 2821, HB 2843, and HCR 2060 are stopped directly in their tracks! 


We’ve already seen Arizonans overwhelmingly reject these bills, most recently HCR 2060 was blasted by the business community, organizations, and media overwhelming the airways. And Hobbs’ veto of SB 1231 sent a clear message that, while Republicans haven’t, Arizona has turned the page! 

 

We will Remember in November 


Make no mistake: the Arizona Republican caucus is rapidly advancing these bills. They are complicit in perpetuating racism and injustice. 


By aligning themselves with these racist measures, they expose their true intentions—and themselves—as enablers of intolerance and bigotry. Their actions underscore their priorities and their eagerness to sacrifice the well-being of communities and our state for political expediency. But come November, we have a choice to make.


Look to the past; we are no strangers to this fight. What GOP lawmakers don’t understand is that this is not 2010 anymore. The children of those parents who were under attack have grown up, and they are organizing! 


We defeated the architect behind SB1070, Russell Pearce, and in 2017 we said adios to Arpaio, reshaping the political landscape from the ashes. We will do exactly that in 2024, and deliver justice for our communities. 


While this is a moment of fear and disbelief, this is also a galvanizing moment. Come Election Day, we will remember who stood with Arizona and who turned their backs on us. While Republicans try mightily to deny our humanity, our contributions, our dreams, and our very existence, they will feel our presence and collective power. Because we aren’t going back!


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