Raids, race, and lessons of fear and resistance: narratives and discourse in the immigration movement in Arizona
Arizona has become infamous for its strong nativist and anti-immigrant climate, gaining national and international attention for legislation and policing practices that are in violation of civil and human rights. Despite the grave injustices perpetuated against migrants and communities of color, they exist in an environment of acceptance. Applying Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory/ Latina(o) Critical Race Theory, and Chicana Feminist epistemologies, this study interrogates the polarized discourse that has intensified in Arizona, within the immigration movement and across its political spectrum, from 2006 to 2008. I present an auto-ethnographic account, including use of participant action research, narrative, and storytelling methods that explores ways in which resistance is manifested and the implications for creating sustainable social change. I argue that legislation, raids, and local immigration enforcement tactics reinforce the dominant group's fear of the "other," resulting in micro and macro aggressions that legitimize racial profiling and help safeguard and fortify White privilege through the fabrication of racialized identities. Simultaneously, organizing strategies and discourse of immigrant rights advocates reflect an entanglement of perceived identities and a struggle to negotiate, contest, and redefine boundaries of public space. The raids, coupled with protests and counter demonstrations, produced a public spectacle that reinforces anti-immigrant connections between race and crime. Lastly, I apply and introduce Border Crit, a new and emerging theory I propose to better address research in the borderlands.