Arizona Immigration: SB 1070 Seeks to Legalize Racial Profiling, and It's Unconstitutional


On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will preside over Arizona’s appeal of the lower court ruling which barred controversial elements of Senate Bill 1070 from being implemented. The Supreme Court should affirm the lower court’s holding and strike down SB 1070:  the bill is a transparently unconstitutional attempt to infringe upon the Federal government's exclusive power to set and administer immigration policy. SB 1070 seeks to fragment immigration law by opening the door to 50 different State immigration laws.

The Supreme Court should also strike down SB 1070 because it seeks legalize racial profiling and civil liberties violations. It unlawfully requires the establishment of a Police State in which state and local police are granted vast powers including the right to demand evidence of immigration status from every individual stopped, even for a simple traffic violation or any minor civil infraction, if they have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person is in the U.S. unlawfully. Arizona will hold the power to decide whether a loud noise complaint or jaywalking qualifies as said “minor civil infraction”.

Substantial civil rights violations have already been alleged. On December 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report documenting its three year investigation into Arizona’s own Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The report, which was delayed due to a lack of cooperation from MCSO, alleges that Sheriff Arpaio and the MCSO, the largest sheriff's office in Arizona, have systematically engaged in "unconstitutional policing" since 2008. Among the numerous allegations; the Sheriff and his Office regularly engaged in the profiling and racial discrimination of Latinos, denied "critical" services to non-English speaking inmates, failed to complete investigations of hundreds of sex crimes and unlawfully engaged a special anti-corruption team to investigate and intimidate the Sheriff’s critics. In one case, a Latino driver was jailed for “for 13 days for not using his turn signal.”

For these reasons, and others, the Supreme Court should overturn SB 1070. The answer to our immigration problems will not be found in fragmenting our Union nor in dismantling federal preemption powers and deputizing the Sheriff Joes of this country to “round up” visible minorities.  The answer must be found and developed within the framework of the Constitution, the supreme law of this land.