What's Wrong With Arizona's "Papers, Please" Law?

The US Supreme Court will start hearing arguments this week to determine if Arizona’s extreme anti-immigrant law, SB1070, is constitutional or not. By striking it down (which is what we hope they will do), the High Court would set a precedent that state-sponsored racial profiling will not be tolerated.

What’s so wrong about SB1070?

Well, four key provisions in SB1070 will likely result in discrimination, families torn apart, truncated student dreams, and racial profiling:

  • Section 2(b):  “Show me your papers” requires every law enforcement officer in Arizona to verify the immigration status of every person stopped, arrested, or detained, as long as there is “reasonable suspicion”;
  • Section 3: makes it a crime to fail to carry an “alien registration document”;
  • Section 5(c):  Criminalization of unauthorized work in the State of Arizona;
  • Section 6:  Warrantless arrests allowed if an office has “probable cause” that someone who has committed a crime is removable from the US.

But there is more to the law than that:

  • If each state is allowed to pass their own immigration law, we would end up with a confusing patchwork of laws.  (What part of “it’s one law, not 50” do some people not understand?)
  • These anti-immigrant far-reaching laws impact our economy, families, and society.  (If you don’t believe us, ask Alabamians.)
  • People fear the police and public safety can be undermined with laws like SB1070 in the books.  (Think victims of domestic violence, victims of a robbery, etc.)
  • Even U.S.-born ethnic minorities feel unwelcome in their own home with laws like these.  (At least 4 million U.S.-born children have at least one parent who is undocumented.)
  • SB1070 and laws like it are not a real solution.  We need a sensible, practical, and humane fix to a broken system.

So, what can YOU do about something happening so far from here?

  • First, keep an eye on what happens with the Supreme Court.  What they decide in the next few months will have real impact in the lives of millions.
  • Second, go to http://vigil.chirla.org/ and light a virtual candle for justice and the American Dream.  Send a message that you will not go back to the dark days of discrimination.
  • Third, (and I know this step might take longer) encourage your abuelita, your uncles and aunts, your cousins to become US citizens if they qualify.  Register to vote if you have not done so.  And finally, vote in November to increase our voice at the ballot box.

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