Today, April 25, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, regarding the state’s SB 1070. The law requires officials to report suspected undocumented immigrants and allows law enforcement officers to determine an individual’s immigration status during a stop, detention or arrest where officers perceive a person to be undocumented.
Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, issued the following statement:
“Arizona’s SB 1070 violates the Constitution, encourages racial profiling of Latinos and turns police officers into immigration agents. It violates the dignity of those caught in the crosshairs and allows the demonization of a particular group of people because of the color of their skin.
SB 1070 and the handful of copycat laws that have popped up in various states in effect require all of us to carry our “papers” to prove that we are lawfully present in the United States. But we know that it will be used to target friends, neighbors and others because of their Latino appearance. If we tolerate this, we lose an essential part of what makes us American.
Our Constitution grants the federal government exclusive power over immigration matters. Arizona’s law and other copycat laws are unconstitutional because they attempt to bypass federal immigration law and supplant it with a state policy of immigration enforcement.
Laws such as SB 1070 make all of us less safe because they discourage victims and witnesses of crime from coming forward to report crimes to police. That doesn’t just make police officers’ jobs more difficult -- when people are afraid to report crimes, our communities become more dangerous.
We hope the justices decide to strike down this unconstitutional and divisive law.”