Dear President Obama,

I write to ask that you take immediate action to (1) defend the people of Arizona and (2) reform immigration policy pursuant to your existing authority as President of the United States.

April 23rd was a sad day for Arizona and a terribly dangerous moment for the rest of our country. SB 1070 codifies hatred into law, disrupts national unity,  and constitutes the most blatantly racist legislation in recent memory.

Arizona’s new law is the direct result of the federal government’s reckless empowerment of local enforcement agencies to enforce what should be an exclusive federal responsibility, immigration law. The nation expects you to demonstrate leadership and moral courage by acting swiftly to stop this bill from taking effect and eliminating federal programs which led to its creation.

Accordingly, I  specifically request that you:

1. Reassert the federal government’s exclusive control over immigration law by making clear that state and local police do not have the inherent authority to enforce immigration law.

2. Immediately suspend and terminate all police-ICE partnerships, including 287(g) agreements and the so-called 'Secure Communities Initiative."

3. Direct the Department of Homeland Security to refuse to take custody of anyone charged with violating provisions of SB 1070.

On Friday, you said: "our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others."  It is time for you to acknowledge that programs enlisting police enforcement of immigration law are precisely the type of irresponsible policy that resulted in Arizona's SB 1070. Please take appropriate action to stop the state of Arizona and prevent the rest of the country from following its path.


Awake, my senator! Let us explore
The Undocumented Question at its core.
Our quest shall dare beyond mere falsities
And ascertain where answer truly lies.
Of arguments pro and con nothing say;
Debate for debate’s sake leads inquiry astray.
Free of our native prejudice (please note:
Many prejudgments tend to advance by rote.)
Let insight scan undocumented man,
Ask where his journey ends, where it began,
How to count the unaccountable,
And whether he is person above all.
The rhythm of undocumented feet
Reverberates now your congressional seat,
Recalling us our dutiful intent
To understand mankind sans document.


For those who have Facebook,

Poets Responding to SB 1070

This is really great! This Facebook page POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 has been up less than 24 hours and the response has been so up-lifting. Poets from all over have shared their unique voices to form this welcoming human tapestry against hatred and intolerance. Light will triumph over darkness! These poets and their poems are a living testimony of that truth. Keep the flow of poetry going.


"Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens." (Walter Benjamin, trans. Edmund Jephcott)


Puedo tomar la energía de esta marcha

Y enredarte en ella

Tomar los gritos y hacerte un tatuaje,

calmar el ruido de los helicópteros

las patrullas y de la injusticia

para que se oiga nuestra canción de amor

puedo tomar el latido de esta marcha

y convertirlo en el tumtum de un tambor

Y mientras retumba

bailar contigo hasta el centro de Oakland

bailar contigo, mi dulce morenita de Fruitvale


San Francisco, CA

Time: May 1, 11am
SF City Hall, 1 Doctor Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA
Eric Quezada

Time: May 1
Location: Corner of 24th st. and Mission st.
Details:In 2006, the immigrants rights movement reclaimed May Day as International Workers Day. This year, we must fight together against the effects of the economic crisis and all workers must unite again on May Day 2010, International Workers Day.

Originally Published: April 26th, 2010

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...