WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the key portion of the anti-immigrant Arizona law SB 1070 - the discriminatory provision that forces law enforcement to request immigration papers of anyone they suspect might
be undocumented. While the court did not specifically consider the racial profiling or unconstitutional search and seizure issues in this limited case, law enforcement officers across the country have testified the law cannot be enforced without racial profiling.
On a key point, the court agreed that only the federal government should regulate immigration. The court also left the door open to future legal challenges, which SEIU and other plaintiffs in other lawsuits against SB 1070 are pursuing.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina responded to the court's ruling:
"Today the Supreme Court agreed with us - that only the federal government should regulate immigration and that states do not have the right to create a fifty state patchwork of immigration laws. But today is not a good day for justice in America. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the most egregious section of this discriminatory law that defies the words etched in stone across the front of the august court building: 'Equal Justice Under the Law.' Justice was NOT applied equally in the Arizona case.
"The Supreme Court has upheld a portion of the law that cracks the core of our principles - justice and equality, the very foundation America's immigrant ancestors sought. The Arizona law, in effect, legitimizes racial profiling.
"The Court may have decided, but we - the people - will have the final say.
"This ruling makes clear that our campaign to mobilize Latino voters and communities of color to organize and grow our electoral power is an absolute necessity. On November 6, we will be heard at the ballot box. And with our votes we will nullify the ruling by pushing Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We will defeat the politicians who
advance a racial profiling agenda, wedge-issue politics of divisiveness, and the corporatizing of our democracy.
"It's up to Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform that will silence the attacks on our immigrant communities in each state and nullify bad court decisions. If lawmakers expect us to vote for them, we will expect action by them.
"Make no mistake, we will look at each candidate and support those who pledge to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform at the federal level.
"With our growing numbers at the ballot boxes across this country in November, we will ensure that this hostile era of public policy based on discrimination and hatred will be replaced by fair and just solutions for all of America.
"In the meantime, we urge the federal government to keep an eye on Arizona and other states who may see this as a signal to go after immigrants. It will take several weeks for this part of the law to be allowed to go into effect and the federal government must ensure that the civil rights of all people are protected while other legal challenges are
"Justice does not come easily, nor does it come swiftly. But it will come.
"As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words remind us: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'"