Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Raising Arizona: How 9/11 Gave Rise to a "Police State" Climate in Arizona


After the passage of the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, also known as Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070), allegations claiming that Arizona had turned into a “police state” came in droves. The allegations came from everywhere—from reputable news sources down to political bloggers—all demonizing the state for yet another harsh and unforgiving attempt at implementing anti-immigrant policy at the state level. However, these allegations had been made against Arizona before the passage of SB 1070. This project attempted to decipher whether or not there is evidence to give credence to the existence of an Arizona “police state.” What was discovered in the process was significant evidence of a physical and political climate that employs extreme policing methods in the name of stemming the flow of undocumented migrants across the Arizona-Mexico border and, more importantly, that all these developments that created said climate arose or were escalated after September 11, 2001. This work presents five findings in relation to this conclusion: the rise in police presence, the rise of policies criminalizing the undocumented, the rise in the detention/prison complex, the rise of influential extremist anti-immigrant groups, and the rise in migrant deaths in post-9/11 Arizona.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View