Protesters March as SCOTUS Hears SB 1070 Arguments | Sojourners

Protesters March as SCOTUS Hears SB 1070 Arguments

Clergy lead Jericho March around Supreme Court James Colten / Sojourners
Clergy lead Jericho March around Supreme Court. James Colten / Sojourners

More than five hundred people showed up at the Supreme Court today in opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 law. The Supreme Courtheard oral arguments on four controversial provisions in that law that were blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, namely:  

1. A provision compelling police to question the immigration status of individuals they suspect are undocumented,

2. A provision allowing police to arrest such individuals without a warrant,

3. A provision making it a state crime to work without authorization

4. A provision making it a state crime for immigrants to walk around without their federal papers (hence why detractors refer to SB 1070 as Arizona's "papers please" law) (Mother Jones)

I participated in the Jericho March for people of faith, organized by the NYC New Sanctuary Movement. We walked the half mile loop around the Supreme Court in silence, praying for a society that builds up justice and dignity.

The tough part about this morning was dealing with “the others.” There were people who were counter-protesting our vigil. Beneath “Don’t tread on me” flags, a man laid out a sign that said, “God so loves us, He gave us Arizona SB1070." Thankfully, a hundred more people were holding signs that said, “People of Faith for Immigrant Justice.”

That statement – “God so loves us, He gave us Arizona SB1070” – is theologically incorrect, and it abuses what the Bible really says about God’s love. It is also morally ignorant to the societal implications of Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law. It doesn’t realize that God cares for the orphans, whose parents have been deported due to racial profiling. It doesn’t recognize the hard work citizens and immigrants alike do in order to provide for families in the United States and throughout Latin and South America. It doesn’t know the stories of children brought to this country when they are one, two, three, four, five years old. It doesn't comprehend their dreams or their humanity.

Don’t tread on me, they say. Me. Just me.

Mine. This land is mine.

Don’t trespass. Wait in line. Go back to wherever you came from.

The Jericho March helped me get away from that tension—the burning desire to confront. Walking in silence reminded me that God loves the peacemakers. It reminded me that God’s love for the orphan, the widow and the immigrant does not change based on a Supreme Court ruling. I do believe there is a time and a place to engage with the “ideological other” on immigration reform. If not for high tensions surrounding the Supreme Court hearing, maybe we could’ve had a civil discussion right there on those steps for all of our lawmakers to see.

From the Jericho Prayer

Dear God, you are a God of love and you call us to love and to take care of each other so that we can build a society of love, peace and justice … We pray you will give us all the right to remain in justice and in truth. Amen

Querido Dios, tu eres un Dios de Amor y os llamas a amarnos y cuidarnos los unos a los otros y así poder construer una sociedad de amor, paz y justicia… Nosotros oramos: para que tu nos des ell derecho a permanecer en justicia y verdad. Amen.


James Colten is a campaigns assistant at Sojourners. Follow James on Twitter @JamesColten.