For Immediate Release
Cheryl Little (305) 905-2204
Lisette Losada (305) 905-2212
June 25, 2012 – Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three noxious provisions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. It also recognized that police have limited authority when it comes to immigration issues. However, we are disappointed that the Court upheld the state’s “show me your papers” provision, although it left the door open for further challenges to the law. The upheld provision still invites racial profiling, which understandably damaged Arizona’s economy.
Even without such laws, fear is palpable in immigrant communities, and with good reason. Just this morning an ICE vehicle was spotted at the celebratory parade for the Miami Heat NBA champions.
Racial profiling is spreading. In Florida, for example, we see a rash of traffic stops targeted at people who “look Hispanic.” A soon to be released study by AI Justice and the Research Institute on Social & Economic Policy (RISEP) at Florida International University shows that, under Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) Secure Communities program, many immigrants who are low priorities for arrest by ICE are being racially profiled, detained and deported.
Cheryl Little, AI Justice Executive Director, said:
“Regardless of today’s Supreme Court decision, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law invites racial profiling. Police so inclined easily find any reason to stop, arrest and ask for papers from people with minor traffic infractions. We already see this happening in Florida. An epidemic of people who ‘look Hispanic’ are being stopped on pretexts or for no reason at all. This is wrong and un-American. We are a nation of immigrants. Instead of racial profiling and fear of police, we need a sensible immigration system that conforms to American values of fair play and justice for all.”
Immigrants make vital contributions to many state economies. In Florida, for example, immigrant workers contribute an estimated $20 billion to the state in taxes each year. Unauthorized immigrants contributed $806.8 million in state and local taxes in 2010. Altogether, the state’s workforce had 24.4% immigrants; and unauthorized immigrants comprised 6.6% of the state’s workforce. The 2010 purchasing power of Latinos in Florida totaled $107 billion.[i]
Susana Barciela, AI Justice Policy Director, said:
“Bills such as Arizona’s SB 1070 remind us of the need for Congress to pass sensible immigration reforms. Until our broken immigration system is fixed, states will take matters into their own hands and create remedies that hurt us all.”
We do not need state laws that could hurt Florida’s economy and vibrant immigrant communities. AI Justice agrees with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, when on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, he said that other states should not adopt Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. “For example,” he said. “I don’t want to see a law like that in Florida.”
[i]New Americans in Florida. Immigration Policy Center, American Immigration Council. January 2012. http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-florida
Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) has been fighting for the American dream since its founding in 1996. One of the nation’s largest non-profit immigration law firms, AI Justice represents vulnerable immigrants at no charge. This direct service work informs its broader policy work. AI Justice influences national policy; successfully litigates or otherwise challenges patterns of abuse; and educates the public about the impact immigration laws and directives have on our communities. AI Justice is dedicated to protecting and promoting the basic human rights of immigrants. Please visit www.aijustice.org for more information.