Rising Arizona: The Legacy of the Jim Crow Southwest on Immigration Law and Policy After 100 Years of Statehood

Report Author: 
Kristina M. Campbell
Date of Publication: 
May, 2014

"Rising Arizona: The Legacy of the Jim Crow Southwest on Immigration Law and Policy After 100 Years of Statehood" argues that Arizona's efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants are "merely the newest incarnation of the State's long history of discriminatory laws against racial and ethnic minorities..." The first section of the paper reviews the early history of the Arizona territory, including the enslavement of Native Americans prior to the Civil War, Arizona's support for the confederacy during the War, and the passage of race-based exclusion laws directed at U.S. citizens of Mexican origin after the War. An important reason why Arizona was the last contiguous state to acquire statehood (admitted to the Union in 1912) was that the majority of its inhabitants were non-white, even if they were denied basic rights and opportunities. Originally part of a single territory with New Mexico, Arizona finally joined the Union as a separate state, because the White people of Arizona "fought bitterly against their potential inclusion with new Mexico and its large, powerful Hispanic population." After admission to the Union, the Arizona legislature continued a pattern of race-based restrictions on non-White minorities. In 1915, for example, the state legislature passed law restricting non-citizen employment to no more than 20 percent of any company's employees -- a law ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as a violation of federal preemption. The author also traces the history of the Phoenix Indian School, which not only sought to eradicate Native American culture in the younger generation but also  "prepared the children for a lifetime of servitude as members of a permanent underclass."  She also chronicles the prohibitions against American Indian voting in the state, which persisted until 1948.  The final section of the paper looks at the more recent anti-immigrant measures and finds that they are "really race-based exclusion laws in disguise." The author concludes: "More than one hundred years after first gaining statehood, Arizona remains a place that is strongly influenced by its history of war, genocide, colonization, and racism."

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Campbell, K. M. (2014). "Rising Arizona: The Legacy of the Jim Crow Southwest on Immigration Law and Policy After 100 Years of Statehood." Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, 24(1), 101-138. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2440747

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