“Papers, please” provision upheld, endangering women immigrants’ civil rights

On Sept. 5, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued an opinion that upheld the controversial “papers, please” provision of the harsh Arizona immigration law SB 1070, threatening the civil rights of women immigrants across the country. Last month, a circuit allowed similar provisions to stand in Georgia and Alabama. Judge Bolton ruled that police in Arizona can enforce the “papers, please” portion of the immigration law.

“Civil rights and immigration experts have clearly stated that the ‘papers, please’ provision of SB 1070 encourages racial profiling and promotes stigma and bias against immigrants, and yet a U.S. district judge chose to ignore those warnings,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), one of the two organizations that lead the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR). “Provisions like this force women immigrants into the shadows and ignore the enormous social and economic contributions women immigrants make to their communities. Women are the backbones of their families and communities, and draconian immigration policies like ‘papers, please’ disproportionately impact women immigrants living, working and raising families. It’s a real blow that Judge Bolton’s opinion upheld this piece of the law.”

“The ‘papers, please’ component of this law threatens to create a dangerous level of mistrust between law enforcement officials and women immigrants who fear detention,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). “This decision shows an immediate need for comprehensive immigration reform that protects women immigrants and their families.”

This decision reinforces how Arizona continues to lead the nation in troubling immigration policy. Last month, Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order outlining the state’s refusal to comply with the federal immigration policy that gives young immigrants without documents the opportunity to work legally in the United States for the first time. Instead, Brewer has ordered state workers not to issue driver’s licenses or other public benefits to undocumented immigrants, further limiting the options of these young people.




The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights is the leading national collaboration to specifically focus on women and gender issues in the public discourse on immigration. The coalition represents more than 60 leading organizations with a presence nationally and in every state.

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