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Supreme Court Decision Reaffirms Federal Role, but Leaves Potential for Racial Profiling

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down three of four provisions included in Arizona's SB1070 immigration law. In so doing, the Court reaffirmed that immigration enforcement is solely the responsibility of the Federal Government. However, the decision let stand a provision that will encourage racial profiling by Arizona law enforcement officials who can ask Arizona residents to provide documentation if they have a "reasonable suspicion" the individual is in the country illegally. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32) released the following statement in response:

"Today, the Supreme Court reiterated that the Federal Government has broad, irrefutable power over immi¬gration under the Constitution. While I applaud the Court's decision to strike down the misguided policies that would have pitted law enforcement against families, workers and senior citizens, I believe their decision to uphold the discriminatory "show me your papers" provision will harm us as a nation. This provision will promote racial profiling, which I believe violates our values and interests, as well as our Constitution.

"I remain concerned about the precedent that this sets for our nation -- a nation of immigrants -- as we see race-based law enforcement codified into state law. Lawsuits challenging the provision on racial profiling grounds are moving through the courts and I am hopeful that this discriminatory provision will ultimately be invalidated. The Supreme Court's decision today is yet another reminder that Congress must act immediately to ensure our nation has a clear and robust federal immigration policy that works for families, employers and immigrants and citizens alike."

The Supreme Court decision on Arizona state law SB1070 upheld Section 2(B). That section requires state and local police to attempt to determine the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped, detained, or arrested whenever there is a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is unlawfully present, and verify that status with the federal government.

The Court found three provisions of SB1070 unconstitutional: Section 3, which made it a state crime for any person to violate provisions of the federal immigration law requiring registration and the carrying of registration documents; Section 5(C), which made it a state crime for an immigrant unlawfully present and not authorized to work in the United States to apply for work, solicit work in a public place, or perform work within the state; and Section 6, which authorized police officers to arrest individuals without a warrant where the officers have probable cause to believe that the individual committed an offense that would make him or her deportable.


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