Angela Chan, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus, an immigrant advocacy group, hopes the outcry in San Francisco and throughout the country will be the match that lights the fire for humane and comprehensive immigration reform. "We can no longer wait and allow states and local governments to try — often foolishly, like in the case of Arizona — to take matters in their own hands," she told us.
Chan sees parallels between Arizona and what happened during the civil rights movement when police attacked African American demonstrators in Birmingham, Ala. "When there is gross injustice, the hearts and minds of Americans are moved by these images now, as they were then," Chan said. "I do believe comprehensive immigration reform will come about, if not now then very soon, as a result."
But she notes that what is happening in Arizona is not isolated.
"In San Francisco, for almost two years now, we have had a policy instituted by Mayor Newsom that requires probation officers to report youth to ICE based only on 'reasonable suspicion' that they are undocumented," Chan explained, echoing language from the Arizona law. "The good news is, with the mayor's strong stance against the Arizona bill, it is an opportunity for him to reevaluate his own policies in San Francisco and do the right thing here. San Francisco can and should be a leader on immigrant rights."