This new law in Arizona is especially onerous to the gay community because according to Immigration Equality executive director Rachel Tiven on Advocate.com: "Forty percent of LGBT binational couples in the United States include a Latino family member. For them, and their loved ones, Arizona is now the most dangerous place in America."
I attended the press conference yesterday morning at the Capitol Mall in Phoenix where the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), ACLU, and National Immigration Law Center (NILC) announced a legal challenge to the Arizona racial profiling law. In a city that turned out over 100,000 Latinos to fight discrimination in years past, it could barely muster a few thousands last Sunday, and only the media today. There is much fear in the community about any kind of gatherings of Hispanics. There is a lot of misinformation and fear spreading in the Latino community regarding this law.
It seems apropos that the 'Winged Victory" statue on top of the Capitol dome was blown so that its back was turned to the proceedings in the mall below.
Civil Rights leaders Dolores Huerta, who worked with Cesar Chavez, and Richard Chavez were in attendance along with Linda Ronstadt. Each spoke against the law.
"What we are witnessing today is the blatant targeting of an entire American population, Latinos," stated civil rights leader, Dolores Huerta. "We must not give one inch in Arizona's effort to blame our community for all of the ills of the state and their efforts to run us out. We have worked this land, built and maintain these buildings and sacrificed as much as any other. We must put an end to SB1070."
Linda Rondstadt said, "My family, of both German and Mexican heritage, has a long history in Arizona. It has been our diverse and shared history in this state that unites us and makes us stronger." "What Governor Brewer signed into law last week is a piece of legislation that threatens the very heart of his great state. We must come together and stop SB1070 from pitting neighbor against neighbor to the detriment of us all."
"This law will only make the rampant racial profiling of Latinos that is already going on in Arizona much worse," said Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona. "What the implementation of this law will mean is that to avoid arrest, citizens will effectively have to carry 'their papers' at all times. This is un-American and the kind of practice that we abhor in nondemocratic countries."
Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of NILC, added "This unconstitutional law sends a strong message to all immigrants to have no contact with any law enforcement officer. The inevitable result is not only to make immigrants more vulnerable to crime and exploitation, but also to make the entire community less safe, by aggressively discouraging witnesses and victims from reporting crimes."
There are a number of serious constitutional problems with the law, the groups say. It violates the supremacy clause by interfering with federal immigration power and authority. The law also unlawfully invites racial profiling against Latinos and other people of color. In effect, the implementation of the new law means that to avoid arrest, citizens will effectively have to carry their 'papers' at all times and will undoubtedly increase racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos and anyone who might appear to be an immigrant."