FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Judit Camacho, SACNAS Executive Director, (831) 459-0170, ext. 444
Jose Dolores Garcia, PhD, SACNAS President, (831) 459-0170
Kelli Williams, SACNAS Director of Communications, (831) 459-0170, ext. 225
SACNAS eliminates Arizona as potential conference location citing likelihood of attendee harassment due to SB1070 immigration law
SANTA CRUZ, CA, May 10, 2010 - In a recent letter to Governor Jan Brewer, SACNAS formally withdrew Phoenix as a potential conference site for its 2012 national conference, stating the new Arizona immigration law virtually guarantees harassment of its conference attendees, most of whom are Hispanic. SACNAS, a national society of scientists advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in science, estimates the total loss in revenue to the local economy at $3 million.
"The leadership of SACNAS strongly believes the immigration law SB1070 will make the state inhospitable to people of color, especially Hispanics," says society president, Jose Dolores Garcia, PhD. "We have been seriously considering Phoenix as a site for our conference in 2012. However, we feel the passage of this law and the policies of Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio will lead to racial profiling of our students and faculty."
Each year, SACNAS holds a major annual national conference bringing together 3,000 student and professional scientists for a four-day meeting. Members of the organization are among the nation's brightest minds in science and represent over 300 leading research facilities, colleges and universities, government agencies and corporations.
The organization's executive director, Judit Camacho points out, "We are not only concerned for our Hispanic attendees, but also for the Native American populations we serve. The law's potential impact on the civil liberties of all Americans cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately, the state has simply become too hostile for the safety and well-being of our members."
If Arizona's current punitive immigration law is repealed, SACNAS may again consider Phoenix as a possible future conference site.
SACNAS is a 37-year-old professional society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists-from college students to professionals-in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership. It has been recognized by the National Science Board as the premier organization promoting diversity in science careers and has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.