Statement from Border Network for Human Rights on Supreme Court SB 1070 Ruling

Key points: SB 1070 Supreme Court case doesn’t rule on the tendency of the law to be discriminatory. The President can prevent SB 1070 from doing further damage immediately by refusing to deport it’s victims. Tell the President to suspend S-Comm in Arizona.

In a divided decision, the Supreme Court allowed the “papers, please” provisions of SB 1070, Arizona’s hateful racial profiling law to go into effect. The issue before the court was one of federal preemption, not the obvious intent of the law to strike fear into immigrant families.

To be clear, this provision was presented to the Justices as a technical legal matter of federal preemption. The Court did not rule on the tendency of the law to be discriminatory.

But everyone knows what “papers, please” is about – targeting one community for “elimination through attrition,” in the words of the laws’ proponents. It must be remembered that “papers, please” policies have their origin in a Germany that was set on doing the same.

This provision has been roundly criticized by both law enforcement and constitutional law experts, many of whom stated that it would be impossible to implement them in a race-neutral manner.

“By issuing this decision, the Supreme Court has validated the anti-immigrant sentiments of ideologues,” said Fernando Garcia, BNHR Executive Director. “The Court left standing the provision that is built completely on fear and anti-Latino sentiment.”

“It’s very unfortunate that the Court did not consider, and that the Obama Administration did not present this law in the context of racial profiling what is right for the U.S.,” said Garcia. “This decision is on the wrong side of history.”

The Court correctly struck down wrongheaded policies that would have pushed families, workers, and senior citizens into the criminal justice system. But the Court made a grave error in upholding the discriminatory “show me your papers” provision that violates people’s basic rights. Those Justices are out of touch with what this law means in Arizona communities.

But this is not the final word on “show me your papers” laws. Anti-discrimination suits are pending, and BNHR calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to be vigilant in stepping up civil rights enforcement.


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