MIRA’s Response to the Supreme Court Decision on SB1070
Statement read by Bill Chandler, MIRA Executive DirectorJune 26, 2012
The United States Supreme Court correctly struck down wrongheaded policies that would have pushed families, workers, and senior citizens into the criminal justice system. But the Court made a grave error in upholding the discriminatory “show me your papers” provision that violates people’s basic rights. The justices are out of touch with what this law means in Arizona and where this section has been enacted.
Racial profiling and its consequences has always been a severe problem nationwide for African Americans. As immigrants, mainly brown and “different” people, have migrated into the South, they already have been targeted without such a law by many law enforcement jurisdictions and have suffered as a result.
The presence of immigrants of color has brought the worst racism lingering under the surface to the surface again with overt attacks to vulnerable residents– our new neighbors.
The changing demographics with the prospect of a political change from white domination in Southern states to that which includes people of color alarms white supremacists who drive these proposals.
Probable cause is the excuse for the stops, racial profiling is the real reason. As they state in similar bills passed and introduced in other states: “the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state agencies and local governments…,” in effect ethnic cleansing. It is to the credit of many in the leadership in the Mississippi Legislature that these proposals have been rejected.
These laws violate our national values and national interests. They promote racial profiling and deny equal justice. They are bad for business and our economic recovery, as they have bankrupted farmers and manufacturer and driven away corporations in the states where enacted. They are divisive and expensive drawing boycotts, protests and lawsuits. They divert precious law enforcement resources away from public safety and would create a patchwork of 50+ different immigration laws when our nation needs a unified approach.
We look forward to further challenges of this provision as it is enforced in Arizona, and in other states where it is part of their anti-immigrant laws. Given the history of Mississippi and the advances we have made, it has no place on our law books.
This is not the final word on the “show me your papers” laws. We’ll keep fighting in courts and legislatures to protect America’s basic rights. Enacting policy changes at the federal level that protects basic human dignity, values, with labor rights for all would be fair for everyone.