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Activist Groups Want More Rights For Immigrants

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

 

Area activists see the US Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law as just the start of protecting civil liberties. It was, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU), a partial victory that must lead to broader rejection of attitudes and actions that fly in the face of the Constitution.

"There is a lot of work to do on this issue," ACLU Communications Director Christopher Ott said. "Hopefully, other states will reject what Arizona has done. We think it's a really significant issue."

Court Ruling

The Supreme Court split-decision struck down several provisions of Arizona's immigration law, but upheld one of the most controversial elements, the so-called "Show Your Papers" provision. It requires state police to demand immigration papers from anyone stopped, detained or arrested in the state who police reasonably suspect is in the country illegally. The court ruled against three provisions of the law, known as S.B. 1070, ruling they encroached upon federal legislation. Two of the provisions made it illegal for undocumented immigrants to reside in and seek employment in Arizona. A third allowed police to arrest without warrant any individual they had probable cause to believe had committed a deportable offense.

"It wasn't everything we were hoping for," Ott said. "We don't think the Arizona law is a good idea at all. We were pleased with the fact (the court) did at least raise questions about some of it."

Worst Case Scenario

The "Show Your Papers" provision tempered Ott's enthusiasm about the court ruling. He and others see that part of the law as among the most dangerous.

"There are parts of the Constitution that talk about US citizens and other parts talking about all people, that whoever they are, they're entitled to due process," Ott said. "You can't railroad them and deport them. There are cases where US citizens have been misidentified and deports. That is a nightmare scenario we want to avoid."

Frank Soults, communications director for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), voiced the same concerns.

"We're encouraged, but of course that last provision that remained ... is troubling because it practically mandates that (police) engage in racial profiling," Soults said. "There has been a lot of comment about that and how a lot of the time people make assumptions that certain individuals are undocumented immigrants because of the color of their skin. We're still hopeful that final provision will fall and that we'll just have police protecting people's securities and the federal government dealing with illegal immigration."

Local Impact

Soults said the ruling has a clear impact in Massachusetts, where the immigrant population has climbed over the years.

"It just proves we need to go out there and make sure legislators and all elected officials are more sensitive to immigrants' rights," Soults said. "In Massachusetts, there are no laws that allow the state to act this way. The fear is that the provision left in place would encourage legislators to consider harmful legislation. The hope is nothing like that will be introduced here."

In Massachusetts, there were 912,310 immigrants in 2007, comprising a little more than 14 percent of the population. One of the cities with a high concentration of immigrants is Worcester, which has a high Latino population (20.9 percent of the city's 181,045 residents as of the 2010 Census), but has seen an influx of people of other races as well."

The ACLU shares Soults' concern, according to Ott, pointing out that on the day of the ruling, the organization announced new funding to fight the Arizona law and "copycat versions."

One of the signs that much work remains to raise public consciousness about civil rights, according to Ott, was the reaction in Massachusetts to the decision.

"It's always a mix," he said. "We did a blog on (a Web site) and very often on those kinds of sites you get a lot of people that are angry, which we did. But there are people making the same arguments we do, also."

A Victory

While some were tempered in there enthusiasm, one local activist saw the ruling as a clear win for the U.S. Government and President Barack Obama.

“I think it is clearly a sign that federalism trumps states’ rights,” said Ravi Perry, an assistant professor of Political Science and director of Ethnic Studies at Clark University. Perry is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Ethnic Studies. “That’s a reality you learn in political science 101, seriously.”

While Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has hailed the court’s ruling as a victory for Americans because one provision was upheld, Perry noted the law can still be challenged. He said it lost some of its teeth because police officers are now prohibited from arresting people on minor immigration charges.

Perry said Arizona’s immigrant law was “clearly an overreach. The Supreme Court made it very clear. Despite complaints about sovereignty, immigration remains a federal issue.”

Obama, who enjoyed another victory recently when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a key part of his health care reform, said: “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.”

“At the same time,” the president continued, “I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes.”

Obama referenced the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.”

Brown Slams Warren

Responding to the ruling in a statement to GoLocalWorcester, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown took a shot at his November challenger, Elizabeth Warren, over immigration, saying she “has the wrong approach. She supports amnesty and taxpayer funded benefits, including in-state college tuition, for those in the country illegally. She wants to make illegal immigration more attractive. I want to strengthen our legal immigration system and provide more opportunities for those who have played by the rules."

Brown said the court’s decision was “another reminder that the federal government needs to deal with our broken immigration system. I believe the first step is securing the border and turning off the magnets that encourage people to come into country illegally. We are a nation of immigrants and should fix the system to make it easier for people seeking to enter our country legally, but we are also a nation of laws that have to be respected and observed.”

Problems Acknowledged

Even as it struck down many of the provisions in the Arizona law, the Supreme Court acknowledged the state’s desperate situation with illegal immigrants.

“The pervasiveness of federal regulation does not diminish the importance of immigration policy to the States,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. “Arizona bears many of the consequences of unlawful immigration. Hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens are apprehended in Arizona each year … Unauthorized aliens who remain in the State comprise, by one estimate, almost six percent of the population.”

“Statistics alone do not capture the full extent of Arizona’s concerns,” Kennedy continued. “Accounts suggest there is an ‘epidemic of crime, safety risks, serious property damage, and environmental problems’ associated with the influx of illegal migration across private land near the Mexican border."

Soults also acknowledged the problem with illegal immigration, saying, "No question a lot of people are here without papers ... there are 11 million people here without documents. It's a huge problem, but we've had kind of a hypocritical and dysfunctional system. People have come here to provide for their families. For a long time there was no will to change the system to allow these people to come here legally, but it was accepted. The fact is they're here and working and now, when the economy is weak, people are suddenly saying we don't want them here, anymore. We need to reform the system by creating a path to citizenship - not amnesty, but real reform to the system."

 

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Comments:

Gene Ralno

"Show Your Papers" dangerous? For whom? SB1070 was enacted because Arizona has become increasingly dangerous for 50 years and the feds are woefully understaffed to deal with a virtually unprotected border. Clearly, the feds need state and local law enforcement to help and the primary danger to America is the democrat need for votes. BHO launched an investigation of a county sheriff on the day after his inauguration. Since that time, he has exerted the whole power of his administration simply because the democrats need the votes. After three years, that investigation has produced nothing. Undeterred, BHO now has filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona for simply trying to stem the human tsunami from Mexico. Some chutzpah of these illegal aliens and their handlers who object to showing what every citizen must do several times every day. I wonder if they'd open the border to everyone, or just to Mexico. Hmmm...

Dave Francis 930

I think Democrats, Republicans and of course ultra left progressives are under the impression that the Constitutional TEA PARTY is declining? This could be any further from the truth, since hundreds each day are joining this split from the GOP and causing frantic demonstrations of nerves in both parties. People who have had no interest in voting before are materializing out of society, because they are now well aware that the Democrats essentially will ignore election laws, as they have done for years. Using any oral device they can, including ‘Voter Suppression, Political Correctness’ and revealing their true nature of being hard core, anti-American. The truth is that without any official oversight, non citizens will vote in a violation of the law and this is what Democrats want? They don’t heed who votes as long as it is for Obama, whether by fraudulent absentee ballot or voting in any precinct. More states than ever before are revising their laws, so any person who votes must have a picture ID, although even this isn’t foolproof.

With the outcome of the Supreme Courts decisive answer, America is under an even more danger of a illegal alien invasion? The fact the Obama administration have ignored many elements of the Constitution, should warn all of us of the evident avenue towards Socialism. A large majority of President Obama voters desire his massive escalation of corpulent government, offering welfare, food stamps and public giveaways. These are dregs that have probably never worked in their lives and live of the taxpayers. 40 percent of Americans have never paid anything in federal or state taxes. It is the same with over 20 million illegal aliens who stay in dark corners of our society who pay nothing. Many illegal alien families are collecting large sums of money from child tax credits, when even the child is not resident here? That is $4.2 billion dollars that should be provided to the lawful impoverished people.

I don’t blame the illegal aliens, but a lying decade of governments that have intentionally overlooked our laws; otherwise illegal entry would be a felony. Not just the Democrats but the Republicans as well, that’s why we need desperately to remove old incumbents entrenched in Washington and replace them with fresh TEA PARTY Senators and House Representatives. America is become a hive of corruption, that emanates from Congress. That isn’t to say that all the politicians are unwilling to fight for the rights of all Americans. But what is going on, when 8 percent of birthright citizens, naturalized and permanent residence are jobless? While throughout the country illegal migrants and immigrants are employed. This is a disgrace to us as nation that supposedly believes in the “rule of Law.” This happens when the federal government is truly the instigators of this immigration mess and should be held accountable? Not border states as Arizona, being threatened by a federal agency uncontrollable. Arizona doing the right thing for its people was a scapegoat for generations of incompetence.

The new ObamaCare law is yet another magnet, which will attract millions more illegal aliens over our threshold. My guess in some clandestine way illegal immigrants will be able to take advantage of this health care law and further drain state treasuries? Americans are already at a disadvantage, when it comes to healthcare as the majority is forced to pay through federal mandate for illegal alien emergency care? Not the farmers who employ them, not the thousands of businesses that pay under the table; again it’s the taxpayer. The open border zealots want a global government and their philosophy is just that; wide open borders. Why does being in this sovereign nation, without documentation and violating the law, give illegal aliens the privilege of stealing the lawful populace money. Why must we, the taxpayer be forced to pay for the children of illegal aliens education, a family’s health care?

I don’t know what Mitt Romney has in mind on Immigration, but the TEA PARTY says No? Americans have been taken for granted, as have the courageous Border Patrol agents who protect the fence; it’s hard to believe that there a big signs in the deserts along the border, in our own country warning us of entering. That signifies it’s dangerous to enter these regions, because of the drug cartels and armed foreign nationals. It’s a proven fact that property owners along the border regions are fearful for their lives and must carry a firearm all the time.

THE TEA PARTY WILL NOT COMPROMISE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. THEY BROKE THE LAW, SO THEY WILL BE DEPORTED. THERE WILL BE NO MORE COVERT AMNESTIES, CHAIN MIGRATION AND STATES WITH SANCTUARY POLICIES WILL BE PROSECUTED. WITH NO COMMITMENT TO THE REPUBLICAN AGENDA’S AND CERTAINLY NOT THE DEMOCRATS, THE TEA PARTY WILL FIGHT FOR EVERYBODY RIGHTS HANDED DOWN TO THEM IN OUR CONSTITUTION.

To really make life unsympathetic for illegal alien criminals, our gutless Republicans should assume E-Verify as a mandatory apparatus without fail. Rep. Lamar Smiths bill ‘The Legal Workforce Act’ (H.R. 2885) informs a business owner whether an individual has a right to work. Currently it is a voluntary policy, but citizens can change this by rattling the cages of the Republican Party. It has become a remarkable electronic program, which detects unauthorized non citizens already hired, but then flagged and can only be resolved by stepping into Social Security offices. No illegal alien would dream of doing that, even if they are in possession of stolen ID documents? Of course the mainstream Liberal press is adamant in denouncing the E-Verify business checking Database?

Just as vital in importance is the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP Bill (H.R.140) amendment law. This disqualifies illegal alien mothers from gaining immediate acceptance of their unborn baby smuggled through ports of entry, either across the ocean or through our limited border fence defenses. Undoubtedly a misinterpreted law that was originally consigned to slaves during the Civil War in the emancipation decree, not an identified ruling by SCOTUS, but unfortunately a huge tax burden that must be resolved. These Foothold children are costing $100 of billions of dollars in welfare, cash payments, education and health care treatment to the states and pouring through the cracks in our laws at a rate of 400.000 a year. The only obstruction is the special interests groups in the halls of Congress, which pour large donations into both parties. Pro-illegal alien forces in the Democrat and Republican Party and stopping these bills from becoming the law of the land.

No! You Republicans and Democrats the TEA PARTY is swelling, not shrinking as you will see in November. All people of every race, religion or political party affiliate should join a local chapter. Obviously people who scorned our immigration laws are not welcome. We can relieve this nation of politicians, governors, mayors and all others, who don’t comply with the Constitution. The Rupert Murdoch personages are isolated from the real world in their mansions, same as the celebrities who know nothing about buying a loaf of bread. They should keep out of the business of the country and go and do something for the legal jobless in this land?

This is the time when every American who believes in the ‘Rule of Law’ and steps forward to let their Senator or Congress person knows how you will vote. Tell the politician’s aide and that you want them to pass E-Verify and the Birthright Citizenship bills. Citizen voters should phone Congress at the central Washington, D.C., Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Insist YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN TO fulfill their obligation to the oath of office and stop pandering to the businesses that use discount workers or the Democrats who are overlooking illegal aliens voting. You have the power of the VOTE to demand they sponsor these to policies or we are doomed to a future, without any restrictions on President Obama to initiate another spending spree. The country has a near $16 trillion deficit that must be stopped and now.




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