Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to strike down three of four SB 1070 provisions being challenged by the federal government, many in the U.S. Hispanic community breathed a sigh of relief while expressing uncertainty and concern over the “show me your papers” provision that was left intact. Section 2(B) requires state and local police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest and suspect of being in the U.S. without authorization.
Hispanic leaders and experts argue that the clause will lead to racial profiling and unjust arrests, in addition to fostering a climate of fear among Latinos in the United States. Eliseo Mendina, Secretary-Treasurer of the International Service Employees Union Concern, said, “We are extremely disappointed that [the Supreme Court] upheld the ‘show me your papers’ provision. We think that it is a clear violation of human and civil rights and will, in fact, lead to racial profiling.” Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, concurred: “If it’s at the discretion of a police officer, clearly someone who has brown skin and an accent is more at a disadvantage than a blond person with white skin,” he said. Mario H. López, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, an advocacy organization, said in a statement, “There is no reason to have confidence in the ability or willingness of officials like Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio to implement this law” in a way that upholds constitutional protections for all Arizona residents.
Community leaders and activists vowed to keep fighting the law. Carlos García, executive director of Puente, a grassroots migrant and human rights movement, said “many people will suffer as a result of this law,” and that his organization and others “will inform the community well and keep fighting.” Mendina urged Latino voters to use the power of their vote in the November 6 elections to help overturn the law.
Outside of the U.S., the Mexican government also lamented that the Supreme Court had failed to invalidate Section 2(B). The Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement that SB 1070 and other similar laws fail to recognize “the numerous contributions immigrants have made in their destination communities,” and that the Mexican government will continue to implement “all legal, political and diplomatic actions at its disposal to defend the fundamental rights of Mexicans in [the U.S.], without regard for their immigration status.” The Ministry of Foreign Relations estimates that there are about 12 million Mexicans living in the U.S., about half of whom lack documentation.