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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Living across the border: A Mexican national’s take on SB 1070

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Sara Alcazar, a sophomore with a double major in Spanish and French, is one of many Arizona residents who is now required by law to carry her Visa with her at all times.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Sara Alcazar, a sophomore with a double major in Spanish and French, is one of many Arizona residents who is now required by law to carry her Visa with her at all times.

For some of the Mexican citizens attending the UA, Arizona’s new immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, ignites not only anger, but also fear. 

“”I don’t have the same comfort that you have. I have to have a paper to be comfortable in any public situation, whereas you don’t need anything,”” said Mexican national Sara Alcazar, referring to native-born Americans.

Alcazar, who will be attending the UA this fall, is a 20-year-old resident of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, a city that rests on the U.S.-Mexico border across from Douglas, Ariz.

Through the privilege of a student visa, she has attended school in Arizona her entire life.

After completing her freshman year at Pima Community College, Alcazar now plans to continue her education at the UA studying Spanish and French and hopes to become a language teacher. A petite young woman with black hair, green eyes and fair skin, Alcazar does not physically look Mexican. Her fair traits, she said, often give her the access to overhear blatant racism in public places.

“”Sometimes what bothers me about being fair-skinned is that people talk bad about Mexicans in front of me and I have to inform them that they are insulting me when they generalize Mexicans as criminals, illegals and drug dealers,”” she said.

The new law states, “”Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.”” For people like Alcazar, this means carrying the appropriate identification with them at all times as a

precaution. While immigrants have been required to carry such identification under federal law since 1984, the implementation of SB 1070 into Arizona’s state legislation enforces what many have been ignoring.

“”The visa is too valuable to carry around all the time. Would you carry around $1,000? You can’t just tell the officer you lost it. The visa is almost impossible to replace,”” said Alcazar.

The monetary value of the student visa is not what she worries about, but rather the consequences of being without it. If caught without proof that she is in the country legally, Alcazar could face jail time until her immigration status is confirmed.

“”I would rather have my car stolen than my visa,”” she said.

SB 1070 gives law enforcement officials the right to question the immigration status of a person when “”reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.””

“”I do get angry when people are racist. I get tired of people thinking that Mexicans are lazy and incapable and thinking that we are a harm to society,”” Alcazar said. “”In my opinion, SB 1070 gives these kind of people an excuse to think the way they do; it gives them a weapon to evoke fear.””

UA is not an exempt location to the new state law. According to Sgt. Juan Alvarez, UAPD officers will receive specific training regarding SB 1070 at the end of June.

“”We will, as always, enforce the law, but we will do so with respect to individual rights,”” said Alvarez.

Frank Balkcom, vice president of the West Coast Region of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, said he doesn’t think the law is going to have an impact on the educational system.

“”Especially once this blows over and everyone understands that SB 1070 is enforcing the federal law,”” he said. “”People are always suspicious of a law until it is implemented.””

Personally, Alcazar said she is not too worried about the enforcement of SB 1070.

“”Beyond crossing the border, I’ve never had a bad experience with any kind of officer. They have always been very polite and I believe they have much more important things to do than bother me,”” Alcazar said. “”But it does make me nervous that I can’t be completely comfortable in this state.””

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