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Tri-Caucus, National Immigration Forum Speak Out Against Arizona’s S.B. 1070

April 24, 2012

Washington, D.C.: The Chairs and members of the Congressional Hispanic, Black and Asian Pacific American Caucus joined with the National Immigration Forum to release the following statements regarding the hearing of United States v. Arizona before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:
“At its heart, America is an idea, not an ideology. And the idea that all men (and women) are created equal is unique to America. Once we allow law enforcement to ask someone for identification because they look less equal, the idea of America weakens. From our early days as a nation, we’ve fought for the ideal that how you live your life, not what you look like, is what makes you American. In order to protect our nation’s values and our basic rights, we believe the Supreme Court should strike down Arizona’s immigration law as unconstitutional.”

Dr. Warren Stewart, senior pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix and Board Chair of the National Immigration Forum:
“This is the most important immigration case in a generation. As a pastor and civil rights leader in a diverse and tight-knit community in Phoenix, Arizona, I can attest to the culture of fear in Latino and immigrant communities created by SB 1070. This discriminatory law does not reflect our values, it is not who we are as a nation. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham Jail, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’ Moreover, whatever the decision of the Supreme Court, Congress must unite and provide just, humane comprehensive immigration reform that represents our great nation at its best.”

CHC Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20):
“Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the first legal challenge to a state anti-immigrant law. Since its passage, SB1070 has legalized profiling of Latinos, prevented local police from doing their jobs by turning them into immigration agents, and codified harassment of families and communities. This misguided law, which includes the “show me your papers” provision and provides legal cover for warrant-less arrests, does not represent the values on which our country was founded. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will seize the opportunity to restore justice for the well-being of all our communities by overturning SB1070.”

CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu (CA-32):
“Arizona’s attempt to create its own immigration policy is more than just unconstitutional: it’s dangerous for the American people. The Constitution grants the federal government sole authority to make and enforce immigration policy. Arizona’s SB1070 undercuts this federal role and codifies the use of racial profiling to do it. From Jim Crowe to the Chinese Exclusion Act to the NYPD surveillance of Muslim Americans, minority groups in this country have come to know what it means to be targeted for who they are. It is not, has never been, and will never be acceptable. I urge the Supreme Court to overturn this egregious overstep for the safety of every American citizen.”

CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5):
"Tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. The Supreme Court has the opportunity to officially reject the use of racial profiling and discrimination against Hispanics and other minorities. Throughout our 41-year history, the Congressional Black Caucus has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, color or creed have the chance to pursue and achieve the American dream. Arizona's un-American law promotes discrimination based on appearance and accent. To do so encourages discrimination against all people of color—including those who have been American citizens all their lives. It appears that some would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us vs. them’, and I vehemently reject that notion. Many American workers are suffering from dire economic conditions, and our broken immigration system creates a race to the bottom for the worst paying and most difficult jobs. I urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Arizona law and protect our citizens’ basic rights. It is time that we all come to the table, negotiate, and fix our broken immigration system and establish comprehensive immigration reform, not a confusing patchwork of fifty different laws. We need reform if we want to level the playing field in the workplace and stop the race to the bottom that our current system promotes."

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15), Immigration Taskforce Chair of the CAPAC:
“Arizona’s misguided attempt at enforcing immigration policy through SB 1070 is not only unconstitutional, but has also torn at the social and moral fabric of families, communities, and America as a whole. As someone who was placed in Japanese internment camps during World War II, I know all too well the effects of scapegoating and racial profiling. SB 1070 has opened the floodgates in allowing law enforcement to unfairly target and racially profile minority communities, leaving already vulnerable individuals feeling suspect or inferior due to their skin color. As Immigration Taskforce Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I urge the Supreme Court to uphold our constitutional rights and to ensure that all Americans – no matter their immigration status – are treated equally under the law.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34):
"SB1070 raises basic questions about the kind of country we want America to be. This law makes it legal for a mother to be stopped on the street and questioned in front of her children based solely on the way she looks, and that's just not right. I call on the Supreme Court to reject the notion that we can solve our immigration challenges by trampling on the constitutional rights that are the bedrock of our freedom."

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (TX-16):
“Two years ago, Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the most reprehensible bill that aims to crack down on undocumented immigrants in the United States," said Congressman Reyes. "These intrusive measures are a mockery of our democratic values and are deeply insulting to Hispanic veterans, such as myself, who have fought to preserve our nation's freedom. From my 26 years of experience in law enforcement, I know these reckless measures only incite fear among the immigrant community and lead to a new level of mistrust of law enforcement. As residents of the safest city in the nation, El Pasoans know first-hand that public safety is best achieved when local police focus on crime, not on enforcing immigration laws. I strongly urge the U.S Supreme Court to condemn this un-American bill.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07):
"Allowing Arizona to write its own immigration law threatens the federal system of governance that has made two centuries of American success possible. Those who agree with SB 1070 should consider whether they really want a country with fifty immigration laws and fifty different restrictions on the flow of employment and goods. Allowing states to write their own immigration laws would put individuals and families in an impossible legal position when deciding where to work, where to go to school, whom to associate with and whom to offer a ride home. That's not the country we really want for the future. Comprehensive immigration reform is a realistic solution. A state patchwork is not."

Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX 28):
"I've lived on the border my whole life and understand the frustrations that border issues can present to a state. At the end of the day, immigration is a federal issue, and securing our border is a federal responsibility. The way to address the problem of illegal immigration is through bipartisan immigration reform, not piecemeal efforts by individual states."

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