Ethnic cleansing American style: SB 1070, nativism and the contradictions of neo-liberal globalization

Raymond Michalowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In April 2010, the State of Arizona established the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, commonly known as SB 1070. Characterized at the time as the harshest anti-immigration law in the country, SB 1070 sought to drive illegalized immigrants out of the state by making ordinary life unlivable for them. This article examines four claims regarding the birth, life and possible death of SB 1070. First, the law emerged as a political response to a right-wing populism by promising to preserve White hegemony in Arizona by blunting the growth of the state's Latino population. Second, the law facilitated the state's interest in legitimacy by promising to restore "the border, "citizenship and "sovereignty as protections against the consequences of globalization. Third, once the Arizona business community, which had been silent about SB1070, realized that the law was threatening economic growth, it mobilized to forestall further anti-immigrant legislation in the state. Fourth, the June 2012 decision by the US Supreme Court in the case of Arizona v United States signals that SB1070 and copycat legislation around the country will loose political traction as the threats they pose to capital accumulation become more widely recognized, and the investor class and their political allies mobilize to stop the passage or weaken the impact of these laws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-193
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Crime and Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


  • Nativism
  • SB1070
  • ethnic cleansing
  • immigration
  • political-economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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