Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Fear Resonates in the Eyes of Arizona’s Latino Residents

Guest Blogger • Aug 30, 2010
The following article is one of a series of accounts from students who recently returned  from Arizona. They were part of a delegation that spent a week touring the state amid  the enactment of controversial law SB 1070. The Center for New Community, a national civil rights organization based in Chicago, sponsored the trip, which included nine students from Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and Colorado.

BrendaninthedesertBy Brendan Francis

During the week of August 9, 2010 along with 12 other people, I traveled to Arizona to learn more about the immigration movement from all sides and what I could do to help counter hatred towards immigrants. We traveled to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona to meet with different individuals and hear their views on the immigration debate.

We had a lot of experiences in this short week but what stood out to me the most was the fear that resonated in the eyes of most of the Latinos immigrants we met.

The immigrants I met with were overall very peaceful and hard working people who simply live for their families.  Those qualities helped me identify and relate to them better.  When we traveled to a community where many undocumented immigrants resided, I was able to understand half the things they said and I could hear the passion in their voices when they described why they were here, as well as the fear in their voices over the potential deportation of their family members.  I was really able to feel for them.

I spoke with a 19-year-old mother who explained how she and her baby  daughter were citizens but her parents were not.  They have seen people deported over and over again.  The teenage mother has faced discrimination and racist sentiment while being educated in Arizona and even faces racism while trying to go to college.  The main thing that stayed with me was the baby.

The little girl was nine-months-old.  She was as pure and innocent as a human can be.  She has no idea what the climate of the state is now or even what SB 1070 is.  She doesn’t know that NAFTA weakened Mexico’s economy she doesn’t know that her grandparents are undocumented. She doesn’t even know what it means to be undocumented.  She doesn’t know what Mexico, the US, brown, black, or white is.  She just knows how to smile and laugh.  It didn’t matter who played with her or what they looked like; she was peaceful and happy with all.  That stuck with me the most.  Her innocence should be the model of how this country treats all people.  That is what I hope to bring to this world with my organizing.

Brendan Francis is an insurance major from Long Island, NY currently in his junior year at Howard University.  He serves as the president of the Howard University chapter of the NAACP.
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