Friday, April 23, 2010

Rights Leaders Condemn Arizona's New Racial Profiling Law

From the Tucson Citizen:

Community leaders across Arizona condemn Governor Jan Brewer’s signing of SB1070, the farthest-reaching anti-immigrant bill ever passed by a state. The law became a lightning rod nationally due to its mandate to law enforcement to use racial profiling and to give the state a backdoor entry to enforcing federal immigration law.

“Even though we’re not surprised by the Governor’s action, we are still outraged,” said Carlos Garcia, of PUENTE, a Phoenix-based community group.  “Governor Brewer has prioritized gathering votes for her election over her responsibilities as governor to uphold the basic civil rights, our constitution, and the well-being of our state.”

Somos America, Border Action Network, PUENTE and other community, faith, business and law enforcement groups as well as elected officials across the state have ardently opposed this bill.  On-the-ground organizing in Arizona resulted unprecedented outpour of opposition including more than 80,000 petition and postcard signatures and thousands of phone calls and emails flooding the Governor’s office every single day.

The law’s sponsor, Senator Russell Pearce claims that ten other states are interested in similar legislation. However, the law continues to ignite national outcry. This morning, President Obama spoke against the bill, calling it a “misguided effort.” This Sunday, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez will be in Arizona to condemn the law at a rally and local church. Congressman Grijalva is hosting a rally in his district on Saturday and protests have sprouted up in New York, Colorado, Washington, New Jersey and other states across the country.

“Governor Brewer’s signature on SB1070 will stain her political career and the people won’t forget it,” says Jennifer Allen, Director of Border Action Network, a statewide community organization. “This is an unjust and unconstitutional law that people won’t stand for. The bill may have been signed into law today, but the struggle will only gain momentum after today.”

The law will come into effect early August or 90 days after the adjournment of the state legislature. Somos America, PUENTE, Border Action Network and other groups around the state are launching an intensive community education campaign to respond to the fear and resentment that is emerging. Legal challenges are calling for an immediate injunction against implementation of the law.

“The signing of this immoral, illegal and unjust bill puts Arizona on the wrong side of history,” said Lydia Guzman, President of Somos America.  “But the groundswell of opposition to SB1070 demonstrates that we can and will change the course of history. From the voting polls, to the airwaves, to the courtroom, we will not rest until this law is defeated.”

With President Obama’s condemnation of the law today, groups are also putting pressure on the Administration to block implementation of the law. “This law depends on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s cooperation. We need to see today’s comments turned into commitment that Washington will not play Arizona’s game,” says Garcia.

Throughout the weekend, events and rallies are expected to turnout out thousands of people across the state.


From the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

Statement by Angela M. Kelley, Vice President of Immigration Policy and Advocacy, on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's signing of “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (SB 1070) into law.

"With the stroke of a pen, Arizona’s governor has taken the state to a new low. Against the admonitions of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, the Arizona state house and the governor have enacted sweeping radical legislation that puts communities of color in the crosshairs, turns the Constitution on its head, and will likely deepen Arizona's financial crisis. The law legalizes the detention and arrest of people who might appear to be undocumented immigrants, simply based on how they look. As President Barack Obama noted today, the legislative efforts in Arizona threaten to “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Our nation’s history is marked by poor policy decisions that were made under political pressure, but which were eventually corrected. Arizona’s action now makes it clearer that Congress needs to enact federal comprehensive immigration reform that is fair, responsible, and holds people accountable. It is the federal government’s responsibility to carry out immigration law enforcement—the job does not belong to the states—and Congress is obligated to lead.

The time to repair the immigration system is now, before mavericks in other states try to take the law into their own hands."


From America's Voice:

Washington, DC - America’s Voice is disappointed and outraged by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to sign into law a highly punitive bill that puts a target on the backs of all Latinos in Arizona and does nothing to solve the state’s, and the nation’s, pressing immigration problem. It will breed chaos on the ground, destroy community policing, cost Arizona taxpayers millions, and fail to restore control and order to the broken immigration system.  Today is a sad day for Arizona and the nation. The Governor’s action only points to the urgent need for the federal government to step up and enact comprehensive immigration reform.

“This legislation is not just about immigrants,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “It’s now open season on all Latinos and it’s an absolute travesty that Arizona lawmakers would go to this extreme in the year 2010. It might as well be Mississippi in the 1960’s.”

This week Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate reiterated their commitment to immigration reform and promised to move reform legislation in Congress this year. Pres. Obama also restated his support for reform legislation and urged Congressional Republicans to join Democrats in crafting a bi-partisan measure. In his comments today at a naturalization ceremony for immigrant active-duty service members the president made clear that doing nothing is not a solution to the nation’s pressing immigration challenges and, in fact, only aggravates the problem.

“Indeed, our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others,” he said. “And that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Sharry noted the incongruity of the president attending a ceremony for immigrants who are serving this country— immigrants who were already Americans in their hearts but are now Americans on paper but would still be targeted under the Arizona law.

“This is a perfect illustration of how egregious this law is,” he said. “It will treat Latino military veterans who have served and protected this country honorably in times of war like common criminals. It will allow legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Latino descent who work hard, play by the rules, and contribute to our society, to be viewed with suspicion and as possible threats to peace and security. It will stigmatize Latino children and make them possible targets of bullying in school. The legislation is a symbol of the worst, most narrowly-minded and bigoted instincts of the past and has no place in government today. Gov. Brewer should be ashamed of her decision.”

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