Supreme Court Decision Shows Why North Carolina Should Not Follow Arizona’s Path
Earlier today the United States Supreme Court struck down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, reaffirming the supremacy of federal control over immigration while stating that it is too early to tell if the fourth provision, Arizona’s so-called “show me your papers” policy, is unconstitutional as well.
In response, Raul Pinto, Racial Justice Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, offered the following statement:
“The Supreme Court’s decision today makes clear that aspects of Arizona’s law raise serious constitutional concerns and is further proof of why North Carolina should not follow Arizona’s path. We’ve seen the corrosive effects that laws like S.B. 1070 have on efforts to foster trust and cooperation within communities. Anti-immigrant laws modeled after Arizona’s undermine police work, harm businesses, threaten our most basic American values, and are proving to be a failed experiment that we must not repeat here. Similar laws are being challenged in every state in which they have been enacted because they result in racial profiling and other civil liberties violations. If an Arizona-style law was ever enacted in North Carolina, there is little doubt that it would be challenged as well.”
The so-called “show me your papers” provision that the Court’s decision today reaffirmed requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that that person is not in the country legally.
“That means if, for whatever reason, your last name, color of your skin or your accent allows you to be perceived as ‘foreign,’ you’re vulnerable to being stopped,” said ACLU National Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “That’s not an America we want to live in.”
“Show me your papers laws” exact a heavy financial toll. Alabama’s economy may have suffered as hit of as much as $6.5 billion as a result of its law, according to a University of Alabama study. Arizona saw a drop in sales tax revenue and a jump in the unemployment rate when S.B. 1070 first became law in 2010. Farmers have seen their crops rot and are planting less because the workers they have relied on for decades have fled in fear. Anti-immigrant laws also drain the resources of county sheriffs and local police departments who do not want the burden of serving as immigration agents while also trying to protect their communities.
For an infographic about today’s decision and more information, go to: www.aclu.org/sb1070
Know Your Rights Videos
To watch a two-minute public service announcement about your rights in light of today’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070: