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STATEMENT: CAP’s Angela Kelley on the Arizona Immigration Debate Coming to Washington

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181
Email: cdipasquale@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. – Today the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security will be convening a hearing examining state and local immigration laws, and this Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona’s infamous “Show me your papers” immigration law, S.B. 1070. CAP Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy Angela Maria Kelley released the following statement on the subcommittee hearing and upcoming oral arguments before the Supreme Court:

The country’s demographics and the Arizona law are on a collision course.  We can only hope the Supreme Court will apply the brakes.  Among the most insidious provisions of the Arizona anti-immigrant law, to be examined in today’s hearing and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, is the mandate that law enforcement officials check the status of anyone they reasonably suspect of residing in the country illegally. Arizona’s law and copy-cat legislation passed in a handful of other states throws open the door to racial profiling based on how people look, dress, and speak. Proponents of these laws know that you can’t tell by a person’s appearance if they are carrying the right immigration papers any more than you can tell if they paid their taxes last week.

These state-level immigration bills are already wreaking havoc on the states that passed them and the nation as a whole, destroying economies, harming public safety— as the police have to divert resources from their core mission of keeping our communities safe to check immigration status—and interfering in our foreign relations, as the U.S. Constitution expressly prohibits.

The diverse opposition to Arizona’s “papers please” law speaks volumes as to why it runs counter to the interest of all Americans. Those who oppose the law include, among others, 44 former state attorneys general, dozens of state and local governments, law enforcement experts, 68 members of Congress, and former heads of the Immigration Naturalization Service under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Their concerns have been included in the amicus briefs filed.

We appreciate that the Senate Judiciary Committee is examining the impact of S.B. 1070 and inviting former Arizona U.S. Senator Dennis Deconcini  (D) to share his informed insights.  It is noteworthy that State Sen. Russell Pearce (R), who is also testifying, was the architect of the law and his extremist positions resulted in his becoming the first state senator ever recalled in Arizona.

Read related issue briefs:

Watch related video:

To speak with Angela Kelley, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or cdipasquale@americanprogress.org.

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