Feathered Bastard

9500 Liberty a Must-See for Those Concerned by SB 1070

If you're not a basketball person or a Suns fan, you should head out to the Valley Art on Mill Ave. in Tempe today and check out the documentary 9500 Liberty. I caught the film last night, and was intrigued by its depiction of the conflict in Prince William County, Virginia over many of the same immigration issues we're dealing with here in Arizona.

Indeed, PWC's "probable cause" resolution, instructing cops to check the ID of suspected illegal immigrants, was drafted by the nativist extremist group FAIR (the Federation for American Immigration Reform), which also helped Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce draft SB 1070.

So what happened in PWC? Latinos fled the county, causing dire economic consequences -- from a dismal housing market to businesses going under, which in turn socked the tax base. Ultimately, the "probable cause" mandate was repealed.

Filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park will be at the 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. showings of the film at Valley Art, and they may stay later for the other showings. It's playing at a couple of other locations, too, which you can check on the Harkins Web site.

My colleague Niki D'Andrea wrote up the film recently for her Jakalope Ranch blog. The situation here in Arizona is much greater in scale, obviously, than what happened in PWC. But the parallels are there for all to see.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons