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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2011
4:40 PM

CONTACT: Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Gebe Martinez, (202) 730-7152 gebe.martinez@seiu.org
Jackeline Stewart, (202) 730-7739 jackeline.stewart@seiu.org

SEIU Challenges Georgia’s New Racial Profiling Law

WASHINGTON - June 2 - SEIU is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Georgia’s new “show me your papers” law. Georgia’s “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act” or HB 87, is an Arizona SB1070 copycat legislation that would authorize local police officers to investigate and arrest people if they sense immigration violations. Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, issued the following statement on the need for federal comprehensive immigration legislation:

“Georgia’s new racial profiling law sounds the alarm for federal solutions to our nation’s broken immigration system. We are challenging the law because it legalizes racial profiling, betrays American values of fairness and equality, and violates the U.S. Constitution.

If the law is enforced, all people may be subject to harassment, unlawful arrest, and detention. The legislation will in some instances perpetuate, and in other instances create, a fear of law enforcement among residents, leading to unreported crimes and heighten tensions that already exist between people of color and the police because of this country’s dark history of racial profiling.

Immigration is a federal issue. Two courts have ruled that Arizona’s SB1070 preempted federal jurisdiction over immigration, and several other states decided not to copy Arizona following those rulings. Apparently Georgia did not get the message. We cannot and will not stand idly by as Georgia is turned into a police state. We will not remain silent as the state’s residents are turned into potential suspects because of the color of their skin. We will not allow racial profiling legislation to undermine our democracy, and erode our civil rights.

A federal response to our immigration problems is the only way to restore the rule of law and protect Americans from civil rights abuses. “

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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.


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