NCLR (National Council of La Raza) expressed its disappointment at the U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton’s decision to allow the ‘show me your papers’ provision ofArizona’s anti-immigrant law to go forward.
This law requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop whom they suspect to be undocumented immigrants. AlthoughBoltondeclined to block the provision, she underscored the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the law may be challenged after it goes into effect.
However, in an important victory for the Latino community, Judge Bolton also blocked provisions of theArizonalaw that criminalized routine interactions with undocumented immigrants, based on the recent decision of the 11th Circuit Court on similar laws passed inAlabamaandGeorgia.
“It is outrageous that in the 21st century, a law that blatantly encourages racial profiling and civil rights violations is allowed to stand—for now,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “But yesterday’s decision to strike down yet another provision in this law makes it obvious that SB 1070 is riddled with problems. As federal courts continue to dismantle this law piece by piece, we are confident that it is only a matter of time before the unjust and discriminatory ‘show me your papers’ provision meets its end.”
A coalition of civil rights organizations argued that the ‘show me your papers’ provision should be blocked based on evidence that it was passed with discriminatory intent and will result in illegal detentions.
“This decision serves as a reminder to our community about what is at stake this November,” added Murguía. “Latinos must send a message through the ballot box that our community will stand up for respect and stand against laws that promote intolerance.”
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The following is a statement by Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr., senior pastor ofFirstInstitutionalBaptistChurchinPhoenixand Board Chair of the National Immigration Forum:
“The district court’s ‘wait-and-see’ ruling onArizona’s immigration law will undermine the basic rights of our state’s native-born residents, as well as Latinos and new Americans. Arizonans deserve better.
“How can law enforcement know someone’s immigration status simply by looking at them? Discrimination — based on skin color, language and ethnicity — is inevitable under this law. A similar provision has been in effect since last year inAlabama, where it has divided communities, generated an atmosphere of suspicion and damaged the state’s reputation. AsArizonaimplements this law in coming weeks, our communities will struggle to overcome similar strain.
“However, yesterday’s ruling is unlikely to close the book on this misguided law. Judge Bolton, like the U.S. Supreme Court before her, strongly indicated that if S.B. 1070 is applied in a discriminatory manner, the court will re-examine its constitutionality. Because of the racial profiling that is inherent in section 2(B), we expect to see additional challenges to the law in the future.
“This is a watershed moment for states and for the federal government to choose where we want to go as a nation. We can followArizona’s footsteps to a path of confusing and discriminatory immigration laws, or we can work together as one nation and fight for practical immigration policies that reflect our commitment to the values of equality and fair treatment that defines us as Americans.”