Category Archives: June 2012

SB 1070 Provision Still Enjoined

June 28, 2012

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]
Victor Viramontes, MALDEF, (213) 629-2512; [email protected]
ACLU national, (212) 549-2666; [email protected]
Alessandra Soler, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6006 (office) or 602-301-3705 (cell)


Brewer Warned Against Any Implementation

LOS ANGELES – The coalition representing the plaintiffs in the ongoing civil rights legal challenge to SB 1070, Friendly House v. Whiting, have sent a letter to counsel for all defendants, including Governor Jan Brewer, explaining that SB 1070 ‘s racial profiling provision, section 2 (B), may not be implemented unless a federal court dissolves the injunction.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Arizona v. United States did not lift the injunction, and the case will be sent to the lower courts for further proceedings. As a result, no law enforcement agency in Arizona should currently be implementing section 2(B).

The letter to Governor Brewer’s defense counsel is available at

The civil rights coalition includes the ACLU, NILC, MALDEF, NDLON and the ACLU of Arizona as well as APALC and AAJC, both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

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U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act

June 28, 2012

Adela de la Torre, [email protected]; 213-674-2832


We Need to Keep Moving Forward to Achieve True Reform

WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the current law of the land, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as constitutional. The Court affirmed that the requirement to purchase health insurance is within Congress’s power to tax, and that states can choose to expand Medicaid to low-income individuals, but it limited the federal government’s ability to compel states to do so. The ACA, which represents the most significant change to the nation’s health care system in 45 years, will allow 31 million previously uninsured Americans to receive affordable health insurance and already has begun to curb abuses by insurance companies. However, undocumented immigrants remain excluded from obtaining health care under the law. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s decision will give millions of Americans, including immigrants and communities of color who are disproportionately uninsured, an opportunity to buy affordable health insurance for themselves and their children and to seek the care they need. The Supreme Court, like millions of Americans, understands that no mother should have to choose between rent and life-saving medical treatment for her child, and our young adults should not be shut out of insurance due to a preexisting condition.

“States and the federal government should now work together to swiftly implement this landmark legislation so that more Americans can continue to personally benefit from this law. This law gives more Americans the opportunity to be healthy and be financially secure. Health care for everyday individuals should not be held hostage to partisan politics. The American people, the legislature, and now the Supreme Court have spoken; let us now begin the process of moving forward together to ensure that everyone can afford to get the health care they need and make our communities and country stronger.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to reaffirm states’ flexibility to expand affordable health care to the most vulnerable in our society beckons states to do what is in the best interest of their residents.  How a state treats its most vulnerable residents is a reflection of our moral and ethical duty to each other. In this great nation, a person’s access to quality, affordable care should not solely depend on his or her zip code.

“Everyone living in the United States should have the same opportunities to protect their families, be healthy and safe from harm, and to achieve their hopes and dreams. The Affordable Care Act represents a step forward to attaining those goals. But it is important to remember that there is much left to be done to make sure the health system reflects our changing demographics and our basic values. We need to look ahead and work towards our goal of ensuring that there is quality care for everyone, regardless of income and immigration status in the U.S.”

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Supreme Court Decision on SB 1070

Monday, June 25, 2012

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]


Civil Rights Coalition’s Case Against SB 1070 and Other Racial Profiling Laws Will Continue

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today issued a decision regarding Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070.  In Arizona v. United States, the Court determined that three of the four provisions currently blocked by the courts are preempted by federal law. The Court reinstated the law’s “show me your papers” provision for the time being, but left open the possibility that the provision could still be found unconstitutional on preemption or other grounds in the future.

The decision will not immediately go into effect in Arizona. A separate case filed by a civil rights coalition, Friendly House v. Whiting, will continue. That case includes additional legal claims that were not addressed by the Supreme Court, including arguments that the law will result in unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and that it discriminates on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“The Supreme Court rightly affirmed that these anti-immigrant laws violate the constitution and our fundamental values. However, upholding the racial profiling provision is a grave error that will undoubtedly lead to civil rights violations, and places the Supreme Court on the wrong side of justice,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Friendly House v. Whiting. “This decision should serve as a call to mobilize, organize, and advocate against divisive legislation like SB 1070 in Arizona and in any state.”

“Today’s decision should not have reinstated Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ requirement, which invites illegal detentions and racial profiling,” said Omar Jadwat, a senior attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and co-lead counsel on the case. “But the Supreme Court properly rejected Arizona’s claim to broad authority in the immigration area and made clear that the ‘show me your papers’ provision may still be enjoined on other grounds in the future. The tide has already turned against laws like Arizona’s, because states recognize that the laws are incompatible with basic American values, are bad for the economy, and undermine and distract our police officers, and this decision will add to that momentum.”

“Today’s decision shreds the foundation of SB 1070 and its copycats around the county by affirming the federal authority in immigration regulation,” stated Victor Viramontes, MALDEF National Senior Counsel. He added, “The majority identified serious ambiguities and potential constitutional flaws in the ‘show me your papers’ provision, which will result in further legal proceedings, but erred in not concluding that the law should be blocked immediately.  As a result, we must prevent any racial profiling and unconstitutional arrests from Arizona’s misguided law.”

“It will be impossible to enforce this law without engaging in racial profiling,” said ACLU of Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler. “Every police department in the state will now be forced to divert limited resources to stopping and questioning people about whether their papers are in order. This will not only threaten all Arizonans’ public safety, but it will inevitably leave communities highly exposed to lawsuits brought on by victims of these discriminatory practices.”

“We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding view that the federal government has the ultimate authority on immigration,” said Jessica Chia, staff attorney at the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) and counsel in the Friendly House litigation. “However, the Court’s decision to uphold racial profiling is deeply troubling, and we have grave concerns about how this provision will be implemented, what constitutes ‘reasonable suspicion’ and how officers will be able to enforce this provision without discriminating individuals based on appearance or speech.”

“Our client Jim Shee’s experiences show that Arizona’s law can harm citizens and noncitizens alike, and allows local law enforcement to unfairly target individuals from communities of color. It is now more important than ever that we stand in solidarity to fully dismantle this fundamentally discriminatory legislation,” said Laboni Hoq, litigation director at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC).

In 2011, five states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — enacted similar state immigration enforcement laws. Federal courts have blocked most of the key provisions of these laws, and those injunctions will not immediately be affected by today’s decision. No state passed a copycat law in 2012, and a growing number of states have realized these laws lead to civil rights abuses for immigrants and citizens, harm businesses, and conflict with fundamental American values of fairness and equality.

“Today’s unfortunate Supreme Court decision on the Department of Justice’s narrow challenge does not alter our view that SB 1070 violates cherished civil rights and should be struck down in its entirety. It is worth noting the sections targeting day laborers, not challenged by the Dept. of Justice, remain blocked by federal court order because they violate bedrock First Amendment rights,” said Chris Newman, general counsel for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “Arizona’s war of attrition against the immigrant community is a war of attrition against basic Constitutional values, and we remain confident the Constitution will ultimately prevail in court and in the court of public opinion.”

The civil rights coalition includes the ACLU, NILC, MALDEF, NDLON, and the ACLU of Arizona, as well as APALC and AAJC, both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

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Deferred Action for DREAMers

June 15, 2012

Obama Delivers for DREAMers and for Our Country

New Policy Will Allow DREAMers to Contribute Fully to Their Communities

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration today announced that it would grant relief to undocumented youth who came to the United States under the age of 16, have grown up here, are currently in school, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or the Armed Forces of the United States, and have not been convicted of a felony offense, multiple misdemeanors, or a significant misdemeanor offense. This announcement directs Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers to grant deferred action to DREAM Act-eligible youth currently in deportation proceedings. Those not in deportation proceedings will be allowed to apply for deferred action status, which will be valid for two years and may be renewable. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today is a momentous day. President Obama took the bold and courageous step to remove the fear of deportation and provide DREAMers with the legal means to contribute their full potential to society. The Obama administration has rightly recognized that our draconian immigration laws have pushed young Americans who lack the paperwork to prove their patriotism to the sidelines of society. Beginning today, these young people finally will be able to use their education and drive to help their friends, family, and community prosper. The administration has shown that it believes in the power of the right to dream, and has given many young people the legal tools they need to begin to turn their professional and societal dreams into reality.

“This is a hard-won victory that comes after years of immigrant youth–led sacrifices, actions, creative organizing, and steadfast advocacy. DREAMers have worked hard to help the administration and the American public understand the situation these young Americans-at-heart face. For those who will be granted relief under the administration’s new policy, America is their one and only home. This policy change will make a significant difference in DREAMers’ lives and America will also reap the benefits of their many contributions.

“We will work with the administration to ensure that this new policy is implemented swiftly, vigorously, and uniformly across the country. This announcement provides real and much-needed relief now, but it is not enough. President Obama cannot provide these youth with the path to citizenship, which would allow DREAMers to participate in all sectors of civil society. We therefore renew our calls to Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which has enjoyed bipartisan support since its introduction in 2001. We will continue to advocate and organize alongside DREAMers and leaders of all ages until Congress does its part in delivering a permanent solution for DREAMers and their families. Until then, we thank President Obama for relieving some of the pain in our communities and offering hope for our country.”

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Since the first introduction of the DREAM Act in 2001, the National Immigration Law Center has played a leading role in the DREAM movement. In 2008, NILC became the anchor organization for the United We Dream Network, which is the largest immigrant youth–led organization working to obtain a path to citizenship and access to higher education for undocumented immigrant youth in the nation.