WASHINGTON -- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) pulled out a secret weapon on Wednesday to talk about the Arizona immigration law and potential for racial profiling: Justin Bieber.
In a speech about the law, SB 1070, the pro-immigration reform congressman showed pictures of Bieber, who is Canadian, along with other celebrities, journalists, athletes and Supreme Court justices who are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves and asked who looks more like an immigrant.
"For our young C-SPAN [viewers]: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez," he said on the House floor. "These young people have overcome their very different national origins and became apparently a happy couple. I’m sure Justin helped Gomez learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted country."
"Oh wait a minute, I’m sorry," he continued. "Because I’m not a trained Arizona official, I somehow got that backwards. Actually, Ms. Gomez, of Texas, has helped Mr. Bieber, of Canada, learn all about his adopted country. Justin, when you perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers."
The Supreme Court ruled on several elements of SB 1070 earlier this week. Gutierrez applauded the justices for declaring some provisions unconstitutional, but raised questions about the section that will be allowed to go into effect. That piece of the law, sometimes referred to as the "papers, please" provision, will instruct police to ask about immigration status when they have "reasonable suspicion" that a person may be undocumented.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and other Republican supporters of SB 1070 have said the law will not lead to racial profiling.
"Arizona politicians will tell you with a straight face, no less, that they can apply this law without using racial profiling," Gutierrez said, "without assuming that someone named Gutierrez isn’t less likely to be in this country legally than someone named Smith. That’s an amazing skill."
Gutierrez then showed others who might be mistaken for an immigrant because of their ethnicity. Is Geraldo Rivera an immigrant or Ted Koppel, he asked. (Answer: Koppel, who was born in England.) What about Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor, he asked later? (Answer: Both are American-born citizens, but Scalia's father immigrated to the United States.)
"We could play this game all day," he said. "But the point is simple. The idea that any government official can determine who belongs in America and who doesn’t simply by looking at them is completely ridiculous, unfair and un-American."
Watch Gutierrez's speech here.
Below, more reactions to the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law:
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