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Linda Meric's picture

In addition to the obvious racist and xenophobic implications of the new Arizona immigration law, in addition to the obvious concerns that this unlawful law targets residents based on the hue of their skin and the language on their lips, there is something else that troubles us. SB 1070 is an attack on women – especially mothers, and those who find themselves in situations of domestic violence, sexual assault or workplace discrimination.

What was Governor Jan Brewer thinking when she stood for all the world to see and signed this wrong-headed legislation into law? There is so much in SB 1070 that compels activists to speak out against it.

Targeting drivers for potential deportation means mothers are taken away from their children, splitting up families in pursuit of enforcement of a broken immigration system. A mother dropping her child off at school or child care in the morning doesn’t know if she’ll be there to pick her up in the afternoon.

And SB 1070 actually increases the threat to women facing domestic violence or sexual assault. Why would a woman call the police to report a crime, why would she ask the police to come to her home, when the first thing they’re going to do is demand her citizenship documentation or that of her family members? This law is a boon for those who would threaten and abuse wives, girlfriends, partners and other women.

It’s also a boon for unscrupulous employers who violate wage and discrimination laws or permit sexual harassment in the workplace. These laws apply to all workers, with and without documents. If you work, under law, you must get paid and you must not be discriminated against or illegally harassed. But SB 1070 silences women from speaking out, from reporting crimes and violations of workplace rights.

By silencing women, SB 1070 permits and condones these attacks. It’s especially bad for the women who face them as individuals, but it’s also bad for ALL women.

What women need are policies that ensure they can provide for their families, policies like paid sick days laws that protect jobs and income even if you face unthinkable situations like domestic violence and sexual assault.

What women need are policies that do not place them as targets of unscrupulous employers, but that help them fight illegal labor practices like pay discrimination and help to close the pay gap (which disproportionately affects Latinas and other women of color) so they can support their children now and support themselves in retirement.

We don’t need laws that criminalize women and make them more vulnerable to harm, but laws that help make ALL women and their families successful and more able to live out the American dream. Join us in speaking out against SB 1070 now!

Cross posted from 9to5 and republished by Jezebel

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