Border Action Network would like to share with you some of the comments from members of our organization and other organizations that are responding to the Supreme Court ruling.
- The Court’s decision to reserve judgment on the discriminatory racial profiling provision, Section 2(b), comes at a tremendous human cost, because the rights of all Arizonans will be violated while this issue is resolved.
- But we are confident that all of this law and others like it will ultimately be struck down as discriminatory racial profiling, as preempted by federal law, or both.
- Although we are disappointed that the racial profiling provision has been allowed to take effect, importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision recognizes that the provision could cause constitutional problems and may violate federal law.
- The Supreme Court also stated that if the law is interpreted to prolong detention it would be unconstitutional. In our lawsuit challenging Arizona’s S.B. 1070 we have raised precisely this constitutional challenge—as well as others—to the racial profiling provision. The Supreme Court’s decision leaves open legal challenges on these bases.
- Border Action Network and other organizations will continue to press forward with our litigation, which raises such challenges. We will not rest until this unconstitutional provision is permanently stricken from Arizona’s law books.
- The Supreme Court did not address the impact of S.B. 1070 on Arizonans or the harm that people in Arizona will suffer from S.B. 1070. We have real concerns that we will be guarding against as we move forward.
- 2(b) is wrong and/or immoral.
- The Supreme Court has expressed reservations and concerns about section 2(b) given the limitations it placed on it.
- There are potential constitutional problems with section 2(b) down the road.
Though making an effort to limit the opportunities for racial profiling, the Supreme Court still upheld one of S.B. 1070’s central and most offensive provisions, the requirement that law enforcement officers demand proof of legal status from anyone they suspect is undocumented. 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.
Still, today’s ruling was narrow in that the Court only concluded that federal law did not pre-empt states from enacting these “papers please” laws. Lawsuits challenging the provision on racial profiling grounds will continue to be litigated, and we are confident that the measure will ultimately be struck down. Unfortunately, the Court’s ruling today means that while we await that future decision, the fundamental rights of all Americans living in those states will be degraded.
This decision is still a setback to civil rights in America, but it is not a defeat. The civil rights and immigrant rights communities will continue to fight against laws like S.B. 1070 in the courts, in state legislatures, and in Congress. These measures don’t exist in a vacuum. As recent polling shows, Latino voters are paying close attention to the court’s ruling, and a majority believes the decision will contribute to a hostile environment for Latinos. Moreover laws like these hurt our community, compromise our safety, bankrupt economies, and undermine our national unity, so it is not surprising that the rush to follow Arizona down this treacherous road has stalled. States that were considering copycat measures in 2012 all took a pass after seeing how costly and socially divisive these laws are.
The three components of the law that have been struck down are as follows:
- Make it a state crime for undocumented immigrants not to possess their federal registration cards
- Make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work, apply for work, or solicit work
- Allow state and local police to arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant when probable cause exists that they committed ‘any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States’
The court did uphold the “papers, please” provision, which requires state and local police to check the immigration status of people they’ve stopped if deemed “reasonably suspicious.”
The following are comments from our staff:
Juanita Molina, Executive Director
We will continue to advocate for the people of Arizona in the face of this law. We are a community that spans across international borders. No one's humanity should cease to be recognized at the border.
Racial profiling undermines the relationship between the community and law enforcement. This law puts undue burden on law enforcement and ultimately contradicts their primary purpose, which is to protect and serve this community.
Mike Wilson, Policy Director:
Despite today’s' Supreme Court decision in favor of the provision upheld by the State of Arizona, S.B. 1070 remains an immoral law. Like the Supreme Court's 1896 decision in Plessy Vs. Ferguson that ruled in favor of racial segregation and state apartheid, history will judge this decision as equally immoral.
Julissa Villa, Organizing Coordinator:
Disappointment, that's what I felt as I heard the decision of the Supreme Court in favor of the provision upholding the State of Arizona. Throughout history we have celebrated the integrity and wisdom of the Supreme Court in our country. We are saddened by their decision.
General staff comments ON THE PROVISION UPHELD:
- We are very disappointed that State rights trump Federal law on this provision.
- We are moving from a country that is based on Federalism and has a Central government - to a confederation.
- We believe we are going backwards as a country towards disintegration.
- Our Community will live in fear of law enforcement.
- Oppressive practices make law enforcement less effective.
- This will obstruct daily function of law enforcement with unreasonable practices.
As plaintiffs in the civil rights coalition's challenge to the law we will continue to fight it on the grounds that S.B. 1070 violates our constitutionally protected civil rights.