Rep. Gutierrez Attends Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Arizona v. U.S.
Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–April 26, 2012. Yesterday, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) listened to oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case Arizona v. U.S. related to the state’s SB1070 “show me your papers” law and the federal court’s injunction against certain sections. The Congressman spoke to reporters after the hearing and also to an enthusiastic crowd of opponents of SB1070 that gathered outside the court. The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez:
“The outcome is important because this tests the basic rights of citizens to walk down the street or drive a car. It defines the pretext for how police stop individuals in our society and rests on the idea that you can tell if someone might be foreign by the way they look, dress, or talk.
That opens the door wide for warrantless searches of citizens, non-citizens, and everyone. It may have started as an immigration-related law, but it has huge implications for citizens.
For Latinos, this is personal. It affects our families, our neighbors, and even if you are from a family of citizens for generations, like I am, it is still a personal attack.
You cannot tell a citizen Puerto Rican from a non-citizen Costa Rican by looking at them or listening to them. You cannot tell if someone is a foreigner, let alone whether their papers are in order, by their dress, accent, or the mud on their work boots. But that is at the heart of this law and laws like it, even if they say in the text “oh, by the way, you can’t use this law to racially profile.”
The case itself will not resolve very much, one way or another. If Arizona’s “show me your papers” immigration law is upheld or struck down, we know we need a national immigration policy that allows for legal immigration in a safe and orderly system so that people come with visas and not smugglers and we have sensible enforcement of that system. We know what we are doing now does not work and in many respects makes things worse.
We undermine local law enforcement by having a broken immigration system and layering on bad laws like SB1070 and bad programs like Secure Communities and 287(g) make it worse. We break up too many families, many of which include U.S. citizens. We need a modern legal immigration system that meets the needs of our economy and that allows people to keep families together and get legal, in the system and on-the-books.
That is how we get from where we are to where we want to be on immigration and the outcome of this case against SB1070 does not change that much.
That said, the outcome of this case matters a great deal politically. The Arizona law and copycats in the Deep South — and now the Supreme Court case — have all been huge stories engaging Latino citizens and voters for two years or more. It has been the top issue by far in the news and has energized the Latino community like no other issue.
Regardless of what happens, for a generation to come, Latinos will remember which side of this fight people were on.”
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Earlier this week, the Congressman wrote an article for U.S. News and World Report, also on the SB1070 law: Arizona’s Law Is State Sanctioned Racial Profiling