WASHINGTON, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Jewish Committee (AJC) commends the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the preeminent role of the federal government in immigration policy, but is disappointed that the Court's ruling left in place a provision of Arizona law enabling law-enforcement officers to require proof of legal status from anyone whom they have reasonable suspicion to believe is undocumented.
Commenting on the 5-3 decision on the constitutionality of S.B. 1070, Arizona's immigration enforcement law, Richard Foltin, AJC's Director of National and Legislative Affairs, applauded the Court's overturning of several of the statute's provisions on the basis of federal preemption, "which will likely result in the overturning of other state copycat laws, such as in Alabama and South Carolina, and prevent the proliferation of similar laws in new states."
The Court invalidated key provisions of the Arizona law, including ones that would penalize an undocumented immigrant who works in the state, or fails to comply with federal alien registration.
But Foltin warned that by upholding the provision allowing police to stop and question people simply on the basis of suspicion, the Court decision "will likely lead to racial profiling and civil rights abuses." He noted that the Court's decision leaves the door open to further challenges to that provision on an "as applied" basis.
AJC has condemned S.B.1070 from its inception, calling it a setback in national efforts to achieve immigration reform. "There is no doubt that our nation's immigration laws must be reformed, but those reforms must come from Congress, not from states enacting piecemeal immigration enforcement legislation," Foltin said.
Since its founding in 1906, AJC has been a strong voice in support of fair and generous treatment of immigrants. AJC continues to urge Congress to pass commonsense federal immigration reforms that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect, while allowing the United States to implement its immigration laws and identify and prevent the entry of criminals, and of persons who wish to do us harm or otherwise pose a risk to our national security.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee