Friday, April 19, 2024

UFW Members to Test Arizona Law

Over a dozen members of the United Farm Workers of America union in Salinas, sans identification, say they will travel on Thursday to Arizona in order to test how police will enforce the state’s controversial anti-immigration law.

If a federal judge in Arizona doesn’t say otherwise, S.B. 1070 will go into effect just one day from now.  Under the new law, police are required to question the immigration status of a person they have detained in connection to another crime if they have “reasonable suspicion” that he or she is in the country illegally.

UFW president Arturo Rodriguez will lead the group upon arrival in Phoenix Thursday.

“Having the president travel to Arizona and represent the union is meaningful,” says UFW vice president, Efren Barajas.

The fifteen UFW members and staff all agreed to leave their identification behind.  They will also be paying for their own traveling expenses.  The Arizona-bound group plans to meet in the early hours of Thursday morning in Los Angeles.

“We are participating in demonstrations to show support for those who oppose the law in Arizona,” said Maria Machuca, UFW communications director.

National condemnation has been swift since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the legislation into law on April 23.  The anti-immigration law has raised fears of racial profiling against Latinos.  Boycotts have been organized all around the country and opponents of the law have called for it to be struck down.  There are several lawsuits against the state and Gov. Brewer pending in federal court, including one from the Department of Justice.

The UFW members say they will not break any laws or dress differently in order to attract the attention of police.  However, Rodriguez says he will engage in an act of civil disobedience if the law is enacted.

“We need to end the fear and help improve the lives of the immigrant farm workers whose sweat and sacrifice bring the rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables,” Machuca said

The Californian