Continued concern over S.B. 1070

Many members of the Latino community remain concerned in light of the June 25th Supreme Court decision to retain the notorious “papers please” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. Although the Court struck down three other main provisions, section 2(B) remains intact, mandating state officers to make a “reasonable attempt . . . to determine the immigration status” of any person they stop, detain, or arrest on some other legitimate basis if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.”

Immigrant rights activists are concerned that this provision could enable serious racial profiling in Arizona and other states that have passed similar laws. According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Latino community as a whole feels under attack in states where anti-immigrant bills have passed, as “it is impossible to separate the undocumented from the documented” in mixed families, which contain at least one undocumented immigrant and one U.S. citizen.

Two-thirds of all Latino voters are opposed to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the “papers please” provision of S.B. 1070 to go into effect, with opposition strongest among first-generation immigrants.

In addition to racial profiling concerns, many familiar with the strong language of the decision fear that S.B. 1070 may overstep constitutional bounds and trespass onto the federal government’s domain. However, the Supreme Court has allowed for challenges to section 2(B) provided that racial profiling can be documented. To this end, civil rights groups and Latino leaders are organizing in Arizona to protect residents from racial profiling. Groups including Tonatierra and Puente utilize neighborhood-based Barrio Defense Committees to discuss racial discrimination under the law and to organize meetings, rallies, legal consolations, and trainings.

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