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Ethnic Cleansing American Style: SB 1070, Nativism and the Contradictions of Neo-Liberal Globalization

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: July 2013 Pages: 171-193
Raymond Michalowski
Date Published
July 2013
23 pages
This article examines four claims regarding the birth, life and possible death of SB 1070 the (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act) established in Arizona.
In April 2010, the State of Arizona established the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, commonly known as SB 1070. Characterized at the time as the harshest anti-immigration law in the country, SB 1070 sought to drive illegalized immigrants out of the State by making ordinary life unlivable for them. This article examines four claims regarding the birth, life and possible death of SB 1070. First, the law emerged as a political response to a right-wing populism by promising to preserve White hegemony in Arizona by blunting the growth of the State's Latino population. Second, the law facilitated the State's interest in legitimacy by promising to restore 'the border', 'citizenship' and 'sovereignty' as protections against the consequences of globalization. Third, once the Arizona business community, which had been silent about SB1070, realized that the law was threatening economic growth, it mobilized to forestall further anti-immigrant legislation in the State. Fourth, the June 2012 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Arizona v United States signals that SB1070 and copycat legislation around the country will lose political traction as the threats they pose to capital accumulation become more widely recognized, and the investor class and their political allies mobilize to stop the passage or weaken the impact of these laws. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.