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Washington, DC—Calling it “alarming and unconstitutional,” NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today urged Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto an anti-immigrant bill that would lead to racial profiling.
The bill, if signed, would make it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. Moreover, it would allow police to verify a person’s immigration status if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is undocumented.
“This bill is an affront to civil rights and it will make all Latinos suspect in their own communities, regardless of their immigration status,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “We’ve seen horrendous abuses through the 287(g) program and know what the reality of such measures is.”
NCLR has long sounded the alarm and called for an end to the 287(g) program, which allows local police to enforce federal immigration laws, because it is ineffective, subject to abuse, and diverts resources from actual criminal law enforcement.
“This bill attempts to create a failed federal program at the state level,” Murguía continued. “It is not about public safety or solutions; this is about playing for cheap political points without regard to consequences for communities and taxpayers.”
“Proposals like this one open the door to racial profiling and discrimination against immigrants and U.S. citizens alike. They are subjective in nature and have no checks and balances,” said Daniel Ortega, Chair of the NCLR Board of Directors, who is based in Arizona. “Until Congress passes an immigration reform bill, states will continue to take matters into their own hands and communities and families will remain terrorized.”
“The urgency of fixing this broken system cannot be overstated. The more that time passes, the more families are broken apart, opportunities for education are denied, and our values as Americans are eroded,” Murguía concluded.