Today, a national student delegation launched a five day tour of Arizona in the midst of the recent enactment of controversial law SB 1070. The Center for New Community, a national civil rights organization based in Chicago, is sponsoring the trip. Students from Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and Colorado applied to join the delegation in order to gain a better understanding of the debate over SB 1070. A total of nine undergraduate students were selected to take part.
The majority black student delegation will be hearing directly from local Arizona spokespeople on national immigration issues such as the economy; migration and the border; the criminal justice system; the anti-immigrant movement; and community organizing.
They will walk through a detention center that has processed over 33,000 undocumented immigrants this year alone. They will spend time in the Mexico/Sonoma desert where deaths from dehydration have exceeded lost US soldiers in Iraq. They will walk through tent city where Sheriff Joe Arpaio marched undocumented immigrants in chains and instituted chain gangs for women.
Stops on the week-long tour will include visits to the U.S./Mexico border, detention centers, undocumented communities and Sheriff Arpaio’s tent city. In an effort to experience the full spectrum of positions when it comes to the immigration debate, students plan to meet with Native American communities, human rights activists, undocumented communities, environmentalists, and local law enforcement officials.
Highlights of these meetings will include separate, face-to-face sit-downs with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and prominent migrant rights activists.
This is a unique opportunity for student leaders to observe the situation in Arizona and report back to their communities and campuses. As outside observers these students can provide a fresh perspective on the debate.
There are starkly opposing opinions concerning our national debate on immigration. This is an opportunity for students to heed the call to pay attention in Arizona. You will be hearing from them!