Supreme Court Upholds Document Check Provision on SB 1070
Photo by SEIU International via flickr
The Supreme Court’s decision to let stand the document check provision of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070, provoked a flood of disappointing reactions coming from pro-immigration advocates.
“Just as the nation is inching closer to a consensus on the need for solutions on immigration, the Supreme Court is dividing the nation,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed with lower courts that three provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law are prohibited as they violate the federal government’s exercise of immigration powers. One provision, Section 2(B) was not blocked by the Court, explained the National Immigration Forum.
The Court ruled it is too early to know if the remaining section, Section 2(B), can be implemented in a way that will not violate the Constitution. Section 2(B), known as the “papers, please” provision, requires law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of those they stop, arrest or detain if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is not lawfully present.
“While the Supreme Court largely agreed that S.B. 1070 goes against our Constitution, it still left one dangerous provision, Section 2 (B) which is the pointy end of the sword of the Arizona immigration law. The implementation of the racial profiling inherent in Section 2(B) will cause irreparable harm in Arizona,” added Noorani.
Because immigration law is so complex, the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC) believes that law enforcement officials trying to make the “reasonable suspicion” determinations called for by SB1070 will rely on stereotypes and racial profiling. Though racial profiling is inherent in the “papers please” provision, it was not an issue in the case at the Supreme Court. Civil rights challenges to the statute on these grounds are already filed in the federal district courts, and have been on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision today.
“SB 1070 was designed to make life difficult for Arizona’s immigrants, so that they would choose to leave the United States voluntarily,” said NIJC Director of Litigation Chuck Roth. “The Supreme Court today sent a message to Arizona and states like Alabama, that this kind of law will not be permitted. However, the Supreme Court found that it had to allow Arizona to try to reinterpret the ‘papers please’ provision before it could be struck down. We are deeply concerned about how this provision will play out on the ground before it is resolved in the courts.”
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spoke against the Supreme Court’s decision and emphasized the need to bring in new voters to the polls during the upcoming November elections. With the New Americans Democracy Project (NADP), ICIRR is expecting to register 26,000 new immigrant citizens to vote.
“The NADP will work in immigrant neighborhoods throughout the Chicago area including Latino, Asian, Arab, Polish and other diverse communities,” said ICIRR in a statement. “Fixing our immigration system will not happen unless immigrant families make our voices heard. Those immigrant family members who are citizens must register to vote and turn out at the polls.”