On April 23, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation allowing Arizona police officers to question individuals based upon the mere reasonable suspicion that they may be undocumented and requiring immigrants to carry proof of their immigration status or else face criminal penalties.
“SAALT opposes this policy as it will undoubtedly lead to profiling of communities of color, regardless of immigration status. Anyone who appears to be an immigrant can be questioned by police and have to prove their immigration status,” said Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT.”South Asian community members are all too familiar with the pernicious effects of profiling resulting from ineffective national security policies instituted following September 11th.” Profiling results in community members being viewed with suspicion by not only law enforcement but also the general public and does little but fuel discrimination.
The new Arizona law, due to go into effect later this summer, also underscores the need for immigration reform and anti-profiling policies. In the absence of federal measures, state and local governments are implementing their own immigration enforcement policies that result in profiling, undermine trust between communities and police, and diminish public safety. SAALT calls upon policymakers to oppose the Arizona law, and to enact policies that respect fundamental civil rights.
What can South Asian community members do?
There are a few simple steps that community members can take to oppose Arizona’s new law and to support policies that respect civil rights:
- Contact Arizona Governor Jan Brewer with the following message: “I am deeply disappointed that you have signed SB 1070. This law promotes discrimination and profiling by legitimizing suspicion based upon appearance. I ask that this law be rescinded immediately.” Her office can be reached at (602) 542-4331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Email President Obama and Congress and ask them to support just and humane immigration reform and to strengthen anti-profiling policies.
- Join rallies occurring across the country on May 1 in support of immigration reform.
- Learn more about the impact of profiling and immigration on the South Asian community by checking out SAALT’s resources.
For more information, contact SAALT at email@example.com.