The racist underpinnings of Arizona’s new anti-immigration bill became clear the day Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law. That morning, amid a cacophony of jangling phones, two chilling calls prompted Representative Raúl Grijalva to close his Tucson office.
Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, had fiercely criticized the law—the nation’s harshest—which gives police officers sweeping powers to apprehend suspected illegal immigrants. And staffers for the outspoken, four-term Democratic Congressman had grown accustomed to angry calls from residents of his sprawling district, which includes everyone from Native Americans and the urban poor to border vigilantes.
But his government affairs liaison, Natalie Luna Rose, was still shocked by the viciousness of this caller. “The man said, ‘I’m going to come down there and I’m going to blow your fucking brains out,’ ” she recalls. “Then he called back later and told [fellow staffer] Ruben Reyes that he was going to go down to the border and start shooting Mexicans.”
Now under FBI investigation, those calls encapsulated the rage directed at Grijalva after he condemned the immigration measure. “We’re going to overturn this unjust and racist law,” he told an April 25 rally at the state capitol in Phoenix, “and then we’re going to overturn the power structure that created this unjust, racist law.”
This is just a very small part of “Boycott Backlash.” To read the whole article, subscribe now for only $14.97and you’ll get access to the July issue, along with the rest of your one-year subscription.