Editorial ~ Court should nullify Arizona immigration law

By Laura Sanchez, November 4, 2010

As an immigration attorney and a first-generation Mexican-American, I want the appeals court to overturn Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

Every day, I see families torn apart by the most minor legal infractions.
When a broken taillight is used as a reason to stop and deport an individual, then something is seriously wrong with our law enforcement priorities, our laws and even our morals.
The Arizona law would make life all the more miserable for immigrants from Mexico. It would require law enforcement officers to question anyone they believe to be suspicious looking.
On Nov. 1, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on this law. The court’s decision will send a strong signal not just to Arizona, but also to the 13 other states that are now considering similar laws.
Arizona’s law reminds me of Operation Wetback, when, after the Great Depression, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service expedited the deportation of 80,000 “Mexican-looking” Americans, including many Latinos born in the United States and Native Americans.
We Latinos must beware: Laws that aim to deport the undocumented may jeopardize the civil rights of all Latinos.
In the wake of SB 1070, other states are attempting to pass similar or more extreme laws at an alarming rate.
Republican state Rep. Randy Terrill, who co-authored Oklahoma’s 2007 immigration bill that was later ruled unconstitutional, has promised to pursue an even stricter second one he calls “Arizona-plus.”
Arizona’s Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce recently announced that state legislators would propose a bill to deny U.S. citizenship to children born of undocumented immigrants.
In the current anti-immigrant climate, even President Obama — who during his race for the presidency co-opted the United Farm Workers’ slogan “Yes We Can!” — has turned his back on us. His administration has deported more immigrants than any other since Operation Wetback.
We need comprehensive immigration reform, and we need our elected officials to make it happen.
If they don’t, our judicial branch must uphold the Constitution and throw out these anti-immigration laws that violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.
In the wake of the election results, that may be all we can hope for in the short term.
Laura Sanchez is a staff attorney for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in San Francisco. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

Published on Progressive Media Project (http://progressivemediaproject.org)

error: Content is protected !!