The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

"Show Me Your Papers"-Based Immigration Policy


Hu is an assistant professor at Duke Law School. She just wrote a piece titled "Arizona v. U.S. & SB 1070: Baking Discrimination Into Immigration Policy" on the American Constitution Society blog, which states: "In Arizona v. U.S., the Supreme Court only upheld Section 2(B) of the highly controversial Arizona immigration law, also known as SB 1070 (Arizona's Senate Bill 1070). Three other provisions of SB 1070 were struck down. Upholding Section 2(B), however, is problematic because it preserves the provision of the bill that invites state and local law enforcement to engage in racial profiling.

"Section 2(B) is known as the 'your papers please' or 'show me your papers' provision of the highly controversial law. Some are reassured that the Court recognized that the constitutionality of the 'show me your papers' provision of SB 1070 might be reconsidered at some point. The Court suggested the question is now whether Section 2(B) might create a problem of racial discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and other constitutional problems. In other words, Section 2(B) is not going to be thrown out now, before the law is implemented. But, if the law results in racial profiling, the Court said that this question could be dealt with in the future, when the evidence surfaces.

"Unfortunately, 25 years of immigration law experimentation with 'show me your papers' policies have demonstrated that the future consequences of this provision can already be predicted: Section 2(B) will likely lead to widespread discrimination.

"Those U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants who may 'look or sound foreign' are likely to be the target of scrutiny, simply based upon their appearance. And because states may now perceive that they have the green light to bake 'show me your papers' requirements into state immigration law, the racial profiling problems stemming from a 'show me your papers'-based immigration policy will likely worsen."

MAEGAN LA MALA, mamitamala at, @mamitamala
Maegan la Mala Ortiz is publisher of VivirLatino. She just wrote the piece "The Mixed Bag S.B. 1070 SCOTUS Decision and the White House Response," which states: "I am not surprised by the decision and I question if there is as large an impact because of the decision. Federal policy, specifically Secure Communities and 287(g) have basically empowered law enforcement to stop those they suspect of being undocumented. This, contrary to what many like to say, was not about civil or human rights. It was about asserting Federal power and we have seen federal power under President Obama help create record-breaking deportation numbers. The precedent for racial profiling of Latinos, the precedent for amping up criminalization of immigrant communities has its roots in federal policy."

JEFF BIGGERS, jrbiggers at
Biggers's next book is State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream. He wrote the piece "SB1070 backlash isn't over: The Supreme Court's decision to strike down most of Arizona's immigration law won't slow the movement it provoked."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.