Monday, April 23, 2012

Will the Civil Rights Impacts of S.B. 1070 Get Lost in the Shuffle?

There has been an incredible amount of commentary in recent days about Arizona v. United States, with the Supreme Court in two days hearing oral arguments and considering the constitutionality of Arizona's S.B. 1070.  Long an advocate of increased state invoilvement in immigration matters, see Peter J. Spiro, The States and Immigration in an Era of Demi-Sovereignties, 35 Va. J. Int'l L. 121 (1994), law professor Peter Spiro has an op/ed in the N.Y. Times that opines about what we should hope for as to the fate of S.B. 1070:

"Such laws are misguided at best, mean-spirited and racially tainted at worst. The conventional wisdom among immigration advocates is that immigrant interests will be best served if the Supreme Court makes an example of Arizona’s law by striking it down.

But in the long run, immigrant interests will be better helped if the Supreme Court upholds S.B. 1070. Laws like Arizona’s are such bad policy that, left to their own devices, they will die a natural death — and their supporters will suffer the political consequences."

I am not sure what to think about leaving intact a law that admittedly is "at best, mean-spirited and racially tainted at worst."  But shouln't we consider the human impacts of allowing S.B. 1070 to be enforced, with state and local law enforcement allowed to engage in profiling of Latina/s as suspected "illegal aliens"?  It seems to me that the civil rights impacts of the enforcement of laws like S.B. 1070 should not be ignored while we hope that such "mean-spirited" or "racially tainted laws" "will die a natural death."


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