Chairman Cleaver’s Statement on the Supreme Court’s Rejection of Key Provisions of Arizona’s Immigration Law and the Upholding of “Papers Please”

For Immediate Release: June 25, 2012

Washington, DC – Today, Chairman Emanuel Cleaver released the following statement about the Supreme Court’s rejection of key portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law:

“Today the United States Supreme Court rightfully struck down key parts of Arizona’s un-American, anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. With this ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the policies that would have needlessly pushed families, workers, and senior citizens into the criminal justice system. However, the Court has made a grave error in upholding the ‘papers please’ provision, which allows local law enforcement officers to racially profile and discriminate against Hispanics and other minorities based on appearance and accent. This law blatantly encourages discrimination against all people of color and other immigrants—including those who have been American citizens all their lives—and violates basic rights of human beings. It is also painfully reminiscent of the struggle many African Americans faced during the 1800s in proving their ‘freedmen status’ and the struggle Black South Africans endured during Apartheid with their ‘passbooks’. It is hard to understand how any aspect of this anti-immigrant law could ever be seen as constitutional.

“Throughout our 41-year history, the Congressional Black Caucus has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, color, or creed have the chance to pursue and achieve the American Dream. Many American workers are still suffering from dire economic conditions and our broken immigration system creates a race to the bottom for the worst paying and most difficult jobs. I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to protect our citizens’ basic rights and I am confident that this will not be the final word. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will continue to join our colleagues in the Tri-Caucus in the continued fight to protect American citizens. We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to stay vigilant in stepping up civil rights enforcement not only in Arizona, but throughout the United States.

“If we truly want to protect our citizens’ basic rights, level the playing field in the workplace, and in the classroom, we must move beyond the partisanship in creating policies that are supposed to protect the American people. It is time we come to the table, negotiate, and fix our broken system by ensuring comprehensive immigration reform.”

-Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II

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