Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Latinos Will Continue to Live Under a Cloud of Suspicion in Arizona

"I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like."
President Barack Obama

As reported in the New York Times,
The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a split decision on Arizona’s tough 2010 immigration law, upholding its most controversial provision but blocking the implementation of others.  
The court unanimously sustained the law’s centerpiece, the one critics have called its “show me your papers” provision. It requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if there is reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant...  
The three provisions blocked by the majority were: making it a crime under state law for immigrants to fail to register under a federal law, making it a crime for illegal immigrants to work or to try find work, and allowing the police to arrest people without warrants if they have probable cause to believe that they have done things that would make them deportable under federal law.
America is a beacon of hope and opportunity attracting immigrants from every corner of the earth.  This nation is a nation of immigrants.  The United States probably is the most diverse country in the world.  Every race, religion, color and ethnic group is represented in America.   Our beauty as a nation is in our diversity.  The vast majority of the people in America originate from other countries.  No one ethnic group or race has a greater right or entitlement to be in America.   

Certainly, illegal immigration is a real problem that must be addressed.  However, racism is the driving force behind most of these repressive anti-immigration laws.   The radical right fears the blacking and browning of America.   They fear the day when white Americans will be the minority. That fear is now a reality.   As noted in the Washington Post, most of the babies in the U.S. are members of minority groups.  Basically, Arizona's anti-immigration law and similar laws in other states are a desperate, last ditch effort to cling to white supremacy.

Although we should welcome the news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three fourths of the repressive Arizona immigration law, there is no reason to celebrate.   At least for now, the Court's ruling will essentially allow Arizona law enforcement officers to continue to racially profile Latinos and other minorities "suspected to be illegal immigrants."   Unfortunately, when many people visualize an illegal immigrant, they do not see Europeans, Asians or even Africans.   They see Latinos.  For that reason, Latinos will continue to live under a cloud of suspicion in Arizona.

Sadly, all Latinos in Arizona who are stopped or arrested will have to show the police their papers.   Although legally the police cannot stop or arrest individuals solely to verify their immigration status, the police can invent all kinds of pretexts to justify stopping or arresting Latinos and other minorities. Until the entire law is overturned, the police in Arizona will be free to harass and humiliate our Latino brothers and sisters.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.


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