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With SB 1070 on Deck, Supreme Court Decision Will Be a Game-Changer

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By Laura Vasquez, Immigration Legislative Analyst, NCLR

As one battle dies down, another heats up. With the oral arguments in the Supreme Court on health care reform over, millions of Americans across the country are turning their attention to the highly contentious case over Arizona's extreme anti-immigrant and anti-Latino bill, SB 1070. NCLR has wasted no time jumping full force into this case, filing an amicus brief alongside a host of other national organizations that advocate on behalf of Latinos, including the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic National Bar Association, Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.

So what's at stake? The amicus brief details a number of concerns raised by SB 1070, including its potential to:

  • Cast a chilling effect over the ability of Hispanic schoolchildren in Arizona to obtain an education
  • Prevent Latinos from applying for federal benefits to which they are entitled
  • Increase discrimination, racial profiling, and harassment from police
  • Cause irreparable damage to Arizona's businesses

Our groups are not alone in voicing disdain for this bill. More than 300 organizations joined 19 amicus briefs supporting the U.S. government in its legal challenge against Arizona's SB 1070. From faith, labor, business, and law enforcement communities, we voiced to the court that we cannot stand by and simply ignore the very real threats to all Americans that could result from allowing this law to stand.

Overturning the injunction on SB 1070 not only jeopardizes the safety of Latinos, subjecting them to increased violence and harassment, but it also encourages and legitimizes other states' attempts to pass anti-immigrant bills.

SB 1070 and the similar racial profiling bills that have followed are disguised as policy solutions for our broken immigration system. They have done nothing but demonize immigrants, undermine the civil rights of all Americans, and drain states of millions of dollars in business.

We will be listening closely on the steps of the Supreme Court as oral arguments begin on April 25, and we hope the justices take our concerns seriously. Once again, we find ourselves in a battle that hinges on the decision of the Supreme Court. And once again, we find ourselves in a battle that the Latino community cannot afford to lose.

This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.