By Spencer Whitney
Last Monday on June 25th the Supreme Court made a controversial decision on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law that has left many immigrant workers and their families worried over further potential restrictions being passed. Supreme Court justices struck down three key provisions of the Arizona law, known as SB 1070, including a requirement that made it a crime for certain immigrants to fail to carry registration papers. In a lawsuit brought by the Obama administration, the Justices said that the federal government has the sole power to enforce illegal immigration laws.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) released a statement in regards to the Supreme Court’s decision, applauding the Court’s decision to prevent the state from unconstitutionally criminalizing being undocumented, seeking or engaging in work, or being deportable.
“In violation of our national commitment to non-discrimination and fairness, SB 1070 requires Arizona police to determine the status of anyone who they believe look undocumented, and to arrest people without a warrant who are thought to be deportable – provisions that would result in harassment and intimidation of Latino United States citizens and authorized immigrants”, said Amanda Bosquez, Manager of Media Relations for NALEO.
Since the decision, Latinos have turned out in street protests across the country, including in front of the Obama administration headquarters in Oakland to boycott Arizona’s immigration laws with civil rights and immigrant groups. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah have enacted laws similar to Arizona’s and are being challenged by civil rights groups while facing suspensions of some of their provisions by federal courts.
Some Hispanic organizations have reacted differently to the recent Supreme Court decision. Jesus Verduzco, a director of the Por La Paz Network, a Latino youth violence prevention group in Oakland, says that while it’s good that the Supreme Court has taken a stance, the Obama administration should be doing more to address immigration issues.
“I believe the tougher immigration restrictions are unnecessary and a form of racial profiling,” said Verduzco. “The Obama administration has dropped the ball in terms of immigration. It seems like they waited until an election year to start doing something.”