Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a key provision of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law will lead to racial profiling and discrimination, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero warned today.
At the same time, Romero said he was heartened by the fact that the court did not shut the door on future challenges to the law.
“We are not done in Arizona and will continue the battle against discriminatory laws like these that encourage racial profiling and undermine the constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” Romero said. “Be it in the courts or in state legislatures, we will aggressively take on these laws and blunt the effects of this miscarriage of justice. When local police can stop and detain anyone they perceive as ‘foreign’ because of their skin color, their accent or their surname, it is a watershed moment for civil rights.”
Today’s decision struck down three provisions of Arizona’s law, but upheld the notorious “show me your papers” provision, which requires illegal detentions and systematic racial profiling by local police. The court rejected the federal government’s argument that Arizona overstepped its power as a state. In a separate suit, the ACLU, along with a coalition of advocacy groups, will continue the fight to block the Arizona law as a violation of core constitutional rights, Romero said.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “show me your papers” provision for now will lead to widespread civil rights violations until it is reviewed again and possibly struck down,” Romero said. “Today’s decision is an invitation for more litigation, while civil rights are inevitably violated.”
In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.
“When law enforcement can say ‘show me your papers,’ Arizona begins to resemble a police state, rather than one of the United States.” Romero said.
The campaign against anti-immigrant laws announced by Romero today is underwritten by 14 leaders in the business and philanthropic communities, who he said recognize that “today’s decision betrays our country’s founding premise as a nation of immigrants and a beacon of freedom and justice.” The campaign will provide funding to:
Bolster litigation efforts in the six states that currently have anti-immigrant laws on the books. Litigate against any state enacting anti-immigrant laws.
Thwart copycat legislation from becoming law by initiating increased advocacy and lobbying efforts on the state level.
Strengthen coalitions with other progressive groups, faith-based organizations and community leaders also fighting anti-immigrant laws.
Compel federal officials and state lawmakers to craft an immigration policy that reflects core American values.
Underwrite a public education campaign to alert more people about the dangers and devastating effects these laws have on citizens and non-citizens alike.
For information on states where anti-immigrant laws have been enacted or have been introduced, go to: www.aclu.org/sb1070
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