Whatever Happened to Arizona Law SB 1070? – R. Aponte

Protesters at Major League Baseball's 2011 All-Star Game, which was held in Arizona. From thinkprogress.org.

In June 2012, the Supreme Court passed what is known to many as the “show me your papers” law in Arizona. Law SB 1070 allows officials to ask for proof of immigration status to anyone they stop or arrest; however, the officials must suspect they are in the country illegally. This was a huge debate that stirred up protest and upset many people. Since the law has passed, it has not been talked about in the media as frequently. So, I asked myself, what ever happened to that law in Arizona, are officials really implementing it and if so who is it affecting?

To my surprise I came across an article regarding a professional baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have their spring training in Arizona and are experiencing SB 1070. Approximately a quarter of the team’s players are Latino. These players have experienced first-hand the ramifications of this law and how it has instilled fear in their day to day lives. They are constantly worrying about carrying their licenses or passports just in case they are stopped and asked to show proof of their citizenship. Though the law, in writing, was meant so that any American can be asked to provide documentation in Arizona, it has been the Latinos who are the ones being interrogated. The article mentions the days of Jackie Robinson, where Blacks and Latinos shared rooms segregated from their white players. I can’t help but think that players today must be feeling similar concerns:  they too are being treated differently from their white teammates.

As a Latina, I am not sure I want to visit Arizona. Do I really want to be fearful walking around the streets of a country I am a citizen of, and hope my license is sufficient proof? That is just a sad realty if I say so myself. We know racism has changed and our country is slightly more accepting of each other’s differences. This law however, proves that we still have a ways to go to in order for all Americans to feel safe and not worry about being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin.


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