The impact of Arizona’s SB1070 on women and children

During a congressional hearing, members of a delegation of women and children shared personal stories of the events which followed the passage of Arizona’s new immigration policies

On June 10, 2010 a delegation of women and children affected by Arizona’s SB1070 testified during a Congressional hearing chaired by U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Gwen Moore (WI).  Members of the delegation which included 10 year-old Catherine Figueroa whose parents were arrested and detained for 3 months, shared personal stories of the events which followed the passage of Arizona’s new immigration policies, and enforcement practices and the harmful effects of this legislation on women and children.

Representatives Judy Chu (CA), Jared Polis (CO), Hank Johnson (GA), and Luis Gutierrez (IL), who were also in attendance, listened to testimony by Silvia Rodriguez, an undocumented college student struggling to find financial assistance to stay in school based on the fear of retaliation against individuals who help undocumented students; Celia Alejandra Alvarez Herrera, a working mother facing years of medical issues after being assaulted during a raid at her worksite which subsequently resulted in her arrest; Alma Mendoza; a former victim of domestic violence worried about the ramification of this law on domestic violence victims; and Sylvia Herrera, PhD, a researcher who has collected and submitted to the Department of Justice video and testimony from individuals who have suffered civil rights violations.

The delegation responded to questions and comments from the representatives regarding some of the devastating effects of the law including an increase in racial profiling, the separation of families (children from parents), an increased fear of reporting crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault; workplace raids; the denial of services.  Members of the delegation expressed concern that Latino communities were being targeted and families were being torn apart.  “These laws empower those who already have biased attitudes,” Congresswoman Chu responded. 

“This is an American Issue” Congressman Gutierrez said, “it’s a question of fairness and justice, not a criminal issue.

This delegation was organized by a group of women leaders from 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, the AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Family Values and Work Consortium and the National Domestic Workers Alliance who went to Arizona on Mother’s Day weekend to document the stories of women and Children.