Carlos Sandoval '87's Documentary on Arizona Immigration Law to Debut on PBS Jan. 27


The State of Arizona captures the explosive emotions and complex realities behind Arizona’s headline-grabbing struggle with illegal immigration. Following Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070, dubbed the “show me your papers” law, the film tells the stories of Arizonans on all sides of this divisive issue from ground zero of the nation’s immigration debate. Produced and directed by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini (Farmingville), The State of Arizona premieres on the PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, January 27, 2014; 10:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings.)

Between 1996 and 2009, illegal immigration rose 300% in Arizona, to an estimated 460,000 people. Frustrated with federal inaction and rising border tensions, Arizona lawmakers ignited a national maelstrom by instituting the SB 1070 law that requires po¬lice officers to ask for papers from people they reasonably suspect to be undocumented in the course of an otherwise lawful stop. Designed to encourage self-deportation, the law’s stated purpose is to “deter the unlawful entry and presence of illegal aliens and economic activity by illegal aliens in the United States.” Supporters call it a common sense law enforcement tool; opponents see it as a dangerous infringement of civil rights that would inevitably lead to harassment and racial profiling. The film follows the journey of the law all the way to the Supreme Court through the voices of those who wrote and support it and of the many who dread its power.

SB 1070 is meant to enforce immigration laws, “one traffic stop at a time,” according to its author, State Senator Russell Pearce. He’s on a zealous mission to preserve America from lawless intruders and the violence of the drug cartels. But as Pearce’s SB 1070 is on the brink of becoming law and a model for the nation, it galvanizes resistance. The movement is spearheaded by the immigrant rights organization Puente, led by Carlos Garcia. For Garcia, once undocumented himself, the struggle is painfully personal as members of his family are being deported...

About the Filmmakers

Carlos Sandoval (Co-Producer/Co-Director) The State of Arizona is Sandoval second collaboration with Catherine Tambini, having previously directed and produced the highly acclaimed Farmingville about a small suburban town in the wake of the hate-based attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers. The film won the Sundance Special Jury Prize and aired on PBS’s P.O.V.

With acclaimed filmmaker Peter Miler, Sandoval also co-produced and co-directed the award-winning A Class Apart about a little-known landmark Supreme Court case. The film won the Imagen Award for Best Television Documentary and aired on PBS’s American Experience. The film has been optioned by Eva Longoria’s unbeliEVAble Entertainment and is soon to be a major motion picture.

Sandoval’s writing has appeared in The New York Times and been included in anthologies. He holds a law degree from The University of Chicago; his practice areas included telecommunications and complex litigation. Prior to attending law school, Sandoval worked on immigration and refugee affairs as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, and as a program officer for The Century Foundation. He has participated on public television funding and programming panels, as well as on film festival juries. Of Mexican American and Puerto Rican descent, Sandoval grew up in Southern California and is a graduate of Harvard College.