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Supreme Court Upholds Arizona's Racial Profiling Law

Today's ruling rejects 3 provisions of Arizona's SB 1070, allows for racial profiing provision

Common Dreams staff

Today the United States Supreme Court has invalidated three of the provisions of Arizona's immigration law but has upheld its controversial "show me your papers" provision.

SB1070 Rally @ the White House

RT reports that "The high court’s ruling decided that Arizona’s policies of imprisoning undocumented immigrants for not possessing federal registration cards was unjust, and that the state could also not make it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work or for state and local law enforcement agencies to arrest immigrants without a warrant."

Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vince Warren finds the Court's decision to uphold the "show me your papers" provision of Arizona's immigration law, which allows police to demand proof of immigration status of anyone they stop or detain, disappointing. "In upholding Section 2(B) of SB 1070, the Supreme Court has legitimized reactionary state law ordinances that encourage widespread racial profiling, multiply wrongful arrests, and spread fear in communities of color. Today’s decision allows individual states to create a patchwork system of immigration enforcement and in effect undoes decades of precedent holding that regulation of immigration is an exclusively federal function. The Supreme Court has sent the disheartening message that it is willing to turn back the clock to a 'states’ rights' era in which the federal courts have no role in protecting the civil rights of people of color," stated Warren.

Angela Maria Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, agrees that this provision leads to racial profiling. "This 'papers please' provision will directly lead to racial and ethnic profiling based on the way people look or the way they speak, regardless of whether they have been American citizens all of their lives," Kelley stated today.

CultureStrike writer Michelle Chen adds that the impact of SB1070 will continue to be felt in immigrant communities nationwide: "The atmosphere of hostility and vicious jingoism that fueled, and been stoked by, SB 1070 will continue to loom over immigrant communities in Arizona and all the other states like Alabama, where 'copycat' legislation has mushroomed in the wake of Arizona’s measure. The mixed decision could influence state lawmakers nationwide in terms of constructing police tactics that target undocumented immigrants and their families."

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See the ruling here.

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The Tucson Sentinel: Supreme Court strikes down most SB 1070 provisions

Struck down were provisions that:

  • Authorize police to arrest without a warrant anyone "the officer has probable cause to believe . . . has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States."
  • Making it a state crime for an undocumented person to seek or engage in work.
  • Making it a state crime to fail to comply with federal alien-registration requirements.

Upheld was the portion of the law (Section 2(B)) that requires police to check immigration status if they have reasonable suspicion to believe someone is here illegally.

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