NEWS DAY | AZ law, MN protests / Violence in American Indian communities

Arizona law, Minnesota protests – July 29 is the effective date for Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law to take effect, but much of the impact will be blunted by the July 28 court decision enjoining enforcement. In Minnesota, protesters will gather at 6 p.m. at the state capitol to protest SB1070, joining other protests across the country.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling (in a case brought by the federal government challenging the constitutionality of SB1070) blocked the most crucial parts of the law:

• Requiring a police officer to make a reasonable attempt to check the immigration status of those they have stopped;

• Forbidding police from releasing anyone they have arrested until that person’s immigration status is determined;

• Making it a violation of Arizona law for anyone not a citizen to fail to carry documentation;

• Creating a new state crime for trying to secure work while not a legal resident;

• Allowing police to make warrantless arrests if there is a belief the person has committed an offense that allows them to be removed from the United States.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said she would appeal.

Two Minneapolis police officers take violence against American Indians personally, writes Ruben Rosario. One of them, Bill Blake, testified yesterday at the sentencing of the man who killed his daughter. Blake and his cousin, Bob Thunder, “joined by Frank Smith, another American Indian cop, put together a seminar and visual presentation on gangs and drugs and hit the road in the mid- to late 1990s, visiting local schools and reservations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin on their own time.”

Rosario tells their story, and also presents the shocking statistics on violence in the American Indian community:

A 1999 Justice Department study found that American Indians annually fall victims to violent crime at more than twice the rate of other U.S. residents. The victimization rate among the estimated 2.5 million American Indians was 124 per 1,000 residents 12 years and older. The rate was more than twice that of African-Americans as well as whites, whose rate is 49 per 1,000 residents.

American Indian women are raped and sexually assaulted at an annual rate more than three times that of white women and more than twice that of African-American women, according to Justice Department statistics. American Indian men are also 150 percent more likely to become a victim of domestic violence. Also, illicit drug use among American Indian youths age 12 to 17 was twice as high as the national average, according to another national study.

Tonight, July 29, Lucy Rain Simpson will speak about the Indian Law Resource Center’s Safe Women, Strong Nations project, which works to prevent violence against Native women. Lucy is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and Senior Staff Attorney with Indian Law Resource Center. She’ll speak at Birchbark Books, 2115 W. 21st St. in Minneapolis at 6:30 p.m.

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