Civil rights advisory board hears testimony on SB 1070

March 27, 2013

At a forum Tuesday evening, the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board heard testimony from members of the public about the impact of Arizona's immigration law SB 1070. The advisory board is gathering information about the implementation law in order to make future recommendations.

cesar valdes Cesar Valdes, 20, gave comments on SB 1070 to the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board on March 26. (Photo by Jude Joffe-Block - KJZZ)

In a meeting that lasted well over two hours, Latino community members told personal stories about being questioned by law enforcement in traffic stops they claimed were motivated by racial profiling. Others shared stories about being fearful of calling the police because of their immigration status. 

Cesar Valdes, 20, gave his account of being pulled over by a Phoenix police officer.

"He said if you are illegal we are going to find out and either way you are going to go to Sheriff Joe's jail," Valdes told the advisory board.

Viri Hernandez, an undocumented youth activist said she initially resisted calling police when someone broke into her house because she knew they would ask her for identification.

"I was like, I can't call the police, I am an undocumented student," Hernandez said. "I know my rights, I've been to workshops, I've given workshops. At this particular moment that this was happening, I refused to call the police because I was afraid."

Dulce Juarez of the American Civil LIberties Union told the advisory board that her organization had received the majority of its complaints from community members about interactions with the Phoenix and Tucson Police Departments.

No one representing law enforcement spoke, and no one there commented in favor of the law. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the six Arizona Civil Rights Advisory board members announced their intention to schedule a second meeting in Tucson.

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