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While human rights advocates, musicians, sports people, police officers and media personalities continue to provide us with endless reasons why Arizona’s harsh SB1070 bill needs to be repealed, lawmakers in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Colorado have already introduced similar bills in their state legislatures.

From the Restore Fairness blog.
Last week we gave you a list of states that are going to great lengths to oppose Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation and ensure that immigration enforcement remains in the Federal domain. Today, unfortunately, we have very different news. While human rights advocates, musicians, sports people, police officers and media personalities continue to provide us with endless reasons why Arizona’s harsh SB1070 bill needs to be repealed, lawmakers in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Colorado have already introduced similar bills in their state legislatures. Not to be left behind, similar legislation is being considered in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Idaho, Utah, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Colorado.

Encouraged by the passage of Arizona’s immigration law, legislators and political candidates in these states are stating their frustration at the Federal government’s inaction in tackling immigration as their reason for introducing bills that increase local immigration enforcement. Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican who introduced legislation modeled on the Arizona law last week saidthat his bill would leave undocumented immigrants with two options, "leave immediately or go to jail." He said-

With the federal government currently AWOL in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to protect American lives, property and jobs against the clear and present dangers of illegal-alien invaders, state lawmakers ... are left with no choice but to take individual action to address this critical economic and national security epidemic.

In Minnesota the copycat legislation, drafted by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski and supported by five other state House Republicans, even has the same name as Arizona’s SB1070- "The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act". According to theMinnesota Independent, this bill (HF3830)-

...would create a Minnesota Illegal Immigration Enforcement Team and require immigrants to carry an "alien registration" card. The bill uses the same "reasonable suspicion" protocol that has generated criticism against Arizona’s law.

This bill has been introduced in spite of the fact that the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis (the areas in Minnesota with the largest concentration of immigrants)banned government travel to Arizona in protest of SB1070. Moreover, the police chiefs of both these cities have denounced the introduction of the bill in Minnesota, on the grounds that increased enforcement of immigration law by local police is detrimental to them carrying out their jobs of protecting the community-

As the police chiefs for Minnesota’s two largest cities, we oppose HF3830, the Arizona-style legislation recently introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives that pushes local law enforcement officers to the front line on matters of immigration...We believe that mobilizing local police to serve as primary enforcers of federal immigration laws will throw up barriers of mistrust and cause a chilling effect in immigrant communities, impairing our ability to build partnerships and engage in problem-solving that improves the safety of all members of the community. The culture of fear that this bill will instill in immigrant communities will keep victims of crime and people with information about crime from coming forward, and that will endanger all residents.

It is frightening that state legislators are making their decisions in spite of repeated protests from mayors and police chiefs in Arizona and around the country. All we can do is take momentary solace in Attorney General Eric Holder’s consideration of filing a Federal Government lawsuit against Arizona’s Sb1070. Speaking on NBC’s "Meet the Press" in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Holder said that  he was worried that enforcement of the law would lead down a "slippery slope" where people would be stopped based on their ethnicity rather than a crime they have committed. He said that the Justice Department was "considering of our options," and could file the lawsuit either on the grounds that the Arizona law "pre-empted" Federal powers, or on the grounds that it violated Federal civil rights statutes.

According to a committee of human rights experts at the United Nations, the Arizona law not only violates Federal civil rights statutes, but possibly goes against international human rights treaties. Yesterday, a committee expressed serious concerns about the ways in which Arizona’s new law affects minorities, indigenous people and immigrants, potentially subjecting them to discrimination by local authorities. Referring to the clauses in the law that makes it a crime to be in the state without documents, and allows police officers to stop and question a person based on "reasonable suspicion" that they are undocumented, as well as the clause that targets day laborers and makes it a crime for them to solicit work, the UN committee highlighted the probability of the law leading to people being profiled based on their "perceived" ethnic characteristics.

The panel, composed of experts in the field of migrant rights and racial discrimination, critiqued the "vague standards and sweeping" language of the law and raised doubts about the law’s compatibility with International Human Rights treaties, which the United States is a part of. Further, they warned against the law as being allowing for a "dangerous pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities."

The rapidly introduction of bills similar to SB1070 is testament to the fact that this "dangerous pattern" is well on its way. We must ensure that the Federal government and the White House take this as an urgent call to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Write a letter to President Obamatelling him to denounce SB1070 and repair the broken immigration system now.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to

Originally posted to Lets Breakthrough on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:13 PM PDT.


Do you think that the Justice Department should file a lawsuit against the Arizona law?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    Take action to fix a broken immigration system.

    by Lets Breakthrough on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:13:12 PM PDT

  •  While I like the idea of taking federal action (0+ / 0-)

    against AZ I thought the DoJ had to wait until there was an actual violation of somebody's civil rights to do something. Or am I just hopelessly confused? It seems in other cases they have to wait for something wrong to actually happen before they can step in and act.

    Wal*Mart isn't the root of all evil but you can buy the plastic, cadmium-tainted, Chinese knock-off of it there for $4.27

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:24:23 PM PDT

    •  Federal law is the real problem. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      in the Trees

      It would be hypocritical for the Feds to sue Arizona. After all, Arizona's only enforcing federal law. If the Federal govt doesn't want its own immigration law enforced, then shouldn't the Federal govt change its damn immigration law?

      Yes. And the sooner the better.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:49:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was an important SC decision (3+ / 0-)

        on the California anti-immigrant prop 187. They declared it unconstitutional on the grounds that enforcement of immigration law is the exclusive province of the federal government. Therefore there is a good argument that Arizona is not allowed to take on the task.

        •  Propostition 187 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There was an important SC decision on the California anti-immigrant prop 187.

          Was never heard by the US Supreme Court.

          <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

          by superscalar on Tue May 11, 2010 at 07:46:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Prop 187 court decision may not control. (0+ / 0-)

            Thanks for pointing out the Prop 187 litigation. I was unaware of it. But now that I've checked it out, I wouldn't be surprised for the AZ law to survive a similar challenge.

            (Yes, I'm a lawyer, though not expert in either immigration or Constitutional law.)

            Prop 187 was struck down by a US District Court, which is the lowest level of federal court. The state under Repub gov Pete Wilson appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, an intermediate federal court (1 step below the US Supreme Ct). Before the appeal was decided, Democrat Gray Davis was elected gov and ordered the state to drop the appeal. So we have no definitive ruling from a high court.

            The District Court ruling was based on a US Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe, which held that states could not deny K-12 education to undocumented immigrants. Important to the Plyler reasoning was that (a) kids have no control over their immigration or residency, and (b) society as a whole would suffer from creation of a class of illiterates. Those concerns are present in the AZ law, but because the AZ law goes way beyond education, it raises a whole lot of pros and cons that weren't present in Plyler v. Doe. And Plyler v. Doe was decided by a Sup Ct with a significantly more liberal makeup than today's, and still was a 5-4 decision.

            Bottom line: the courts are far from certain to undo AZ's law.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Wed May 12, 2010 at 10:06:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Just lower court decision. (0+ / 0-)

          See my reply to superscalar for details.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed May 12, 2010 at 10:09:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I believe that they will need a case. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariachi mama

    Once they get one they do have some options for trying to fast track the appellate process. It looks like immigration reform is dead for this congress because politicians don't want to tackle the issue in an election year. In that climate many of them will attempt to dump the whole thing in the lap of the courts.  

  •  The headline misses the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's easier to vote for stupid Arizona-style legislation precisely because it's so obviously unconstitutional.  It's an easy symbolic vote by legislators who'll never have to implement the law.

    This machine makes fascists feel bad. (Meteor Blades-approved version)

    by Rich in PA on Tue May 11, 2010 at 04:24:19 PM PDT

  •  Good. Pass these laws and Latinos will be Dems.. (0+ / 0-)


  •  What do you expect? There is a great, great deal (0+ / 0-)

    of frustration with the current Immigration situation in the USA. People are demanding that politicians do something and they are - the normal non-solution of grandstanding when faced with a situation where they have no control. It is kind of surprising that no state has come up with a Zero-Tolerance response, as bureaucrats and politicians love Zero-Tolerance policies because they sound so impressive while accomplishing so little.

    As long as lots of people are unhappy, this kind of stuff is going to continue. Politicians are not going to resist the howling mobs and show leadership, all they care about is re-election.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Tue May 11, 2010 at 07:17:36 PM PDT

  •  Daryl Metcalfe is a teabagger favorite (0+ / 0-)

    I am praying these people don't get into power. They will turn the country back to the Dark Ages, or raise hell trying.

    Repeal the Military Commissions Act!

    by marina on Tue May 11, 2010 at 10:07:44 PM PDT

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