Ariz. partners glad we’re here, anxious about court ruling

Sandy Weir

Sandy Weir, organizer with the UU Arizona Immigration Ministry, told trustees about the mood within the local immigrant community as they anticipate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070. (Christopher L. Walton)

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s immigration justice General Assembly, which takes place this week in Phoenix, Ariz., appears destined to coincide with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona law that provoked the UUA’s emphasis on immigrant rights in the first place.

At the UUA Board of Trustees meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday, June 19, Sandy Weir, organizer with the UU Arizona Immigration Ministry, told trustees that the UUA’s partners in Arizona’s immigrant communities expect bad news this week. A Supreme Court ruling on Arizona SB 1070 is expected as early as Thursday morning. Weir said “the SB1070 ruling will either be bad news or worse news.” Many observers believe the Court will uphold at least some of the controversial law’s provisions, effectively giving a green light to other states to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

The UUA’s partner groups, with which the UUA has planned this year’s special “Justice General Assembly,” are focused right now on providing information and reassurance to immigrants, Weir said. They are setting up training opportunities and using hotlines, she said, to offer “reminders that some of their fears can be moderated just a bit by learning that maybe they don’t have to get out of town right away, or that they don’t necessarily need to be concerned about sending their kids to school.”

“I don’t think there are many people sensing very much other than things being peaceful” in response, Weir said, “but that doesn’t mean it’s any less distressing.”

Asked what positive outcomes the partner groups expect from the UUA’s presence this week, Weir replied, “They’re very glad to have consistent and solid support” from Unitarian Universalists over the past few years. “Large numbers matter some.” And they are hoping that many of the immigration experts the UUA has brought to GA will choose to stay in Arizona through the announcement of the Supreme Court decision.

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