Immigrants march past the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix Saturday.
I've been gone from Phoenix for just over a year and one of the first things happening when I got back was immigrants marching for dignity and respect. On one level it's like nothing changed in the time I was gone.
Except that a lot changed in the time I was gone.
Sheriff Joe Arapaio has been put in his place by the federal courts. His "crime suppression sweeps" that targeted undocumented immigrants and victimized Latinos of any status, are a thing of the past.
There's still no DREAM Act, but the President's "DREAM Act lite"has been enthusiastically received in immigrant communities.
Marching for immigrants' dignity.
When I left in 2012, I sensed a lot of anger and frustration when I covered events in the immigrant community. During the march Saturday, the crowd was festive. An organizer told me the frustration has been replaced with optimism.
Immigrants' rights marchers in central Phoenix.
Immigration protests before I left always featured a small but vocal band of nativists supporting the Sheriff. The Sheriff's legal woes seems to have taken the wind out of their sails. Four Tea Party nativists stood across the street from the immigrants' rally reciting the Pledge of Allegiance over and over again while everybody ignored them.
So while the more things change, the more they stay the same, in this case it's the more things change, the more they really change.
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