A group of undocumented immigrants are banding together on a protest tour that will take them by bus through many states that have passed tough legislation aimed at undocumented immigrants. The tour will start in Phoenix end in early September in Charlotte, in time for the Democratic National Convention.
Protesters hope the tour will raise awareness about the criticisms of laws such as Arizona’s SB 1070. Protestors taking part plan on civil disobedience activities and protests along the way, and they risk jail time as they do so. Some who are taking part in the bus tour say that they are nervous about the risk they are taking but also believe that the risk is needed in order to get more rights for those who are in the country without status.
Protestors say that their actions are specifically aimed at individuals such as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who have cracked down on undocumented immigrants. Protestors say that events such as the passing of Arizona’s SB 1070 and the actions of Arpaio have made many undocumented immigrants step forward in order to protest the unfair treatment the community gets. The protestors say that if people like Arpaio see that undocumented immigrants are unafraid, the discriminatory practices will not be able to continue. Arpaio and his department are currently facing a class-action lawsuit after being accused of making racially-motivated arrests. Arpaio has stated that the protestors and bus tour will not stop him from upholding the law.
Others who are known for taking a tough stance against undocumented immigration have also stated that they will not be swayed by the bus tour. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, has stated that tougher laws are needed to protect jobs intended for Americans.
The bus tour will travel to New Orleans, Colorado, Atlanta, and through many other stops. Several groups are organizing the tour, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. In Charlotte, protestors will be near President Obama when he formally gets the party nomination for president. Although President Obama has supported the DREAM Act and has opposed Arizona’s SB 1070, he has also received some criticism for his immigration policy. Although he has recently created an executive order which will defer deportation for up to 800 000 qualified undocumented immigrants, his administration has also been criticized for having the highest number of deportations in history. Some critics have also argued that President Obama has not done enough to pass promised immigration reforms.