WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP issued the following statement recently regarding SB1070; a new law in Arizona that gives local law enforcement the right to arrest anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1070 into Arizona law on Friday, April 23rd.
“The NAACP is outraged that in 2010, a sitting Governor would sign a law that empowers local law enforcement to legally use racial profiling to target entire communities. It is a violation of the respect for human rights that is the moral standard of our nation and it threatens the safety of us all as both immigrants and citizens will be fearful of reporting crimes to police. The law unwisely redirects the role of the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Department to local police officers diverting local resources from fighting crime to investigating undocumented people who might be in this country,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Governor Brewer’s signature on SB1070 is another attempt to roll the clock back on civil rights protections in this country.”
“The passage of SB1070 is an embarrassment to the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution, and if we are not careful will leave a permanent stain on the United State’s reputation throughout the world. As an association that has fought for more than 100 years to ensure that basic rights and freedoms would be equally extended to all, it is disheartening to see the State of Arizona enact a law that tramples on the civil rights of Hispanic persons, and one that cannot be enforced without resorting to racial and ethnic profiling. We intend to use the full weight of our 2200 branches and units to ensure that this law is repealed and does not happen in other states across this nation,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “As a nation we must enact comprehensive immigration reform so people who are in this country without documentation will have a path to citizenship, and we look forward to working toward that goal with the President and Congress in the coming months.”
The proposed law requires state, county, and municipal employees to ascertain the immigration status of a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present in the U.S. It also subjects local governments and their personnel to lawsuits by any citizen who feels that the new law is not being enforced sufficiently. The law would impose a $500 fine, among other costs, and a misdemeanor charge leading to possible deportation for individuals who could not show proof of legal presence
“The NAACP is deeply disappointed that Governor Brewer signed SB1070 into law. This new law effectively legalizes the incendiary practice of racial profiling and will adversely affect communities of color across Arizona. Moreover, it sets a dangerous precedent for other states to follow suit and pass similar discriminatory measures,” stated NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Hilary O. Shelton. “We look forward to working with other national civil rights groups, the U.S. Congress and President Obama to achieve comprehensive immigration reform so that racially and ethnically discriminatory laws like SB1070 are rendered irrelevant and useless.”