For Immediate Release
Monday, June 25, 2012
U.S. Supreme Court Correctly Strikes Down Most of Arizona’s Anti-immigrant Law
Court Threatens Civil Rights by Leaving in Place “Show Your Papers” ProvisionWashington, DC —
Statement of AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States:
“The Supreme Court made the right decision today by overturning three out of the four challenged provisions of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070. The ruling prohibits Arizona from imposing criminal penalties on undocumented immigrant workers, leaving intact current federal law that imposes these penalties on employers. It also rightly overturned two provisions that would have made it a crime under Arizona law for an immigrant to fail to register and carry their alien registration document, and would have allowed warrantless arrests if an officer suspected the individual was undocumented. Overturning those provisions makes sense for immigrants, for justice and for a sensible system of immigration.
“However, the Supreme Court failed to overturn the most troubling part of S.B. 1070, the so-called ‘show your papers’ provision that requires every Arizona law enforcement officer to verify the immigration status of every person stopped, arrested or detained, if the officer has a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person is in the U.S. unlawfully. We believe this provision not only places an added burden on officers, but can only be implemented through the use of racial profiling. The Court did leave the door open to additional legal challenges, some of which are already working their way through the court system. We are confident that this unjust measure will be overturned.
“The Obama Administration did the right thing in challenging this wrongheaded law. We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to remain vigilant in its enforcement of civil rights protections. We caution other states that laws like S.B. 1070 undermine our values, divide communities, threaten workers’ rights, and weaken already fragile economies. Immigration is properly a federal matter. We therefore urge Congress to pass laws that protect immigrants from racial profiling and other forms of harassment and, most importantly, comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our values as a nation.”