Immigrant Rights and Civil Rights Leaders React to SB1070 Decision and Announce Renewed Efforts to Fight

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 25, 2012

Contact: Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, NWIRP, 206-957-8609


Seattle, WA– The Supreme Court issued its decision today on the constitutionality of SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) joins key allies today in a joint press conference to provide reaction to and commentary on the decision.

Immigrant and civil rights leaders will also speak about strategies to ensure racial profiling laws like SB1070 do not spread to Washington State and that we keep working toward proactive legislative that supports immigrant communities.

WHAT: Press Conference – U.S. Supreme Court’s SB1070 Decision

WHERE: U.S. Federal Courthouse steps, 700 Stewart Street, Seattle 98101

WHEN: 11:30am, Monday, June 25

Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, NWIRP
David Ayala, Organizing Director, OneAmerica
Shankar Narayan, Legislative Director, ACLU of WA
Rep. Luis Moscoso, 1st Legislative District
Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Councilmember
Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Councilmember

In a joint press conference held earlier today on the steps of the federal courthouse, Jorge L. Barón shared the following statement:
My name is Jorge L. Barón, and I’m the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.  We are the only nonprofit organization providing comprehensive immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Washington State.
I join my colleagues here today to express our deep opposition to Arizona’s misguided anti-immigrant law, SB 1070.  We are pleased that the Supreme Court today recognized that Arizona had gone too far in many aspects of this law, but we are profoundly disappointed that it has allowed one of the most troubling provisions, the so-called “show me your papers” provision, to move forward.
I can tell you our perspective on why SB 1070 is bad public policy.  As part of the only nonprofit organization that represents individuals in deportation proceedings here in Washington State, our staff sees first-hand the impact that ramped up immigration enforcement is having on immigrant and refugee communities.
What Arizona has chosen to do compounds the existing dysfunction of our immigration system by passing a law that is going to lead to rampant racial profiling.  Because that particular issue was not before the Supreme Court today, the court has allowed it to move forward, but we are troubled at the human cost that allowing this law to be in effect before further challenges will have on immigrant and refugee communities in Arizona and other states with similar laws.
As my colleagues have noted, we as a community will oppose any attempt to try to enact policies in the vein of SB 1070 here in Washington State.  But we should not forget that, even without laws like SB 1070, we are not immune to the kind of troubling practices that Arizona has formalized into law.
You don’t have to travel to Arizona to see racial profiling by Border Patrol agents or to see local law enforcement entangled in immigration enforcement.  This is unfortunately a reality here in our State as well.  So as we reaffirm our opposition to SB 1070 and similar laws today, we also reaffirm that we will continue to challenge the divisive and counterproductive practices that are happening here.
If anything good can come out of SB 1070 and today’s decision, we hope that it is a recognition that it is absurd to continue to throw billions of dollars in federal, state and local resources to enforce a set of immigration laws that don’t make sense.  We should instead muster the political courage to bring about a fairer, more realistic and more humane immigration system that will serve our country better than the current path.