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Ariz. Spanish-Langauge Media Take On SB 1070

Posted: Jun 20, 2012

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- In a historic and unprecedented effort, 23 Spanish-language media outlets in Arizona will join in a 30-minute program Wednesday to inform Latinos about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 that’s causing fear in their communities.

Legal observers expect the high court to hand down a decision in the next several days that will determine the future of four parts of Arizona’s immigration that were enjoined by lower courts.

“Part of the idea is to give our community appropriate information and Spanish mass media play a critical role in doing so,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, a voting engagement campaign involved in the effort.

Under the slogan “Hoy Somos Arizona” (Today We Are Arizona), the news organizations will dedicate 30 minutes of commercial-free airtime starting at 5:00 p.m. to inform their audiences about SB 1070 and immigrants’ rights.

“If we don’t do this, no one will. It is a civic responsibility to inform a segment of the population that may be a bit misinformed or doesn’t have the capacity to understand and digest issues that are complex,” said Andrés Angulo, vice-president of news for Estrella TV.

Angulo emphasized that it’s necessary to give their audience a better understanding of how court decisions work and how laws are implemented at the state level.

Parts of SB 1070 went into effect on July 29, 2010 after the bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April. But federal judge Susan Bolton enjoined several parts of the law, including the provision that made it a state crime to be in Arizona without papers.

The Supreme Court is considering that and three other provisions: the requirement for law enforcement to ask about an individual’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion,” penalties for not having legal documents to be in the state, and the authorization of warrantless arrests of individuals.

“We are giving resources, tools and power to our community,” said Angulo of his station’s effort to explain the law and the upcoming Supreme Court decision.

At least five TV stations will participate in the show: Azteca América, Telefutura, Liberman Broadcasting, Telemundo and Univision TV. Participating radio stations include Entravision Radio, La Onda 1190 and Radio Fiesta. Print media, such as La Voz and Prensa Hispana in Yuma, Phoenix and Tucson, will also be participating in the campaign.

“The decision on SB 1070 is not only going to affect Arizona but millions of other Latinos at the national level,” said Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota.

At least five states are waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on SB 1070 in order to implement similar provisions of copycat laws.

Monterroso said the show will include background information about SB 1070 as well as immigrants’ rights. It will also encourage civic engagement.

“For 30 minutes this Wednesday, words will become the best defense for Latinos all over that are concerned about the impact that the Supreme Court decision may have on their daily lives. This will be a golden moment for our community,” said Tania Marquez, executive producer of “Hoy Somos Arizona.”

During the program people can call 1-855-RESPETO to get free legal advice about their rights. The program will also be available online at www.hoysomosarizona.com.

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