U.S. Supreme Court Renders Mixed Decision on Harsh Immigration Law

Today the United States Supreme Court rendered a mixed decision, striking down portions of SB 1070, one of the harshest and most criticized immigration laws in the country, while leaving others intact. Notably, the Court upheld the “papers, please” provision of the law, which requires local law enforcement to stop and question anyone who appears to be an immigrant and has widely been interpreted as encouraging racial profiling. Many civil rights leaders and immigration experts have predicted the Arizona law would promote stigma and bias against Latinas and women immigrants, leaving them more vulnerable to crimes like intimate partner violence and less likely to seek needed services like prenatal care. Today the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) expresses grave concern that even partially upheld SB 1070 is a major setback for women immigrants. “Women immigrants are making enormous social and economic contributions in communities across the United States,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), one of the two organizations that lead NCIWR. “Laws like SB 1070 completely ignore this reality — and reflect a broken system that leaves women in the shadows. That’s why we are committed to working toward comprehensive immigration reform.” The Supreme Court’s decision is crucial, as it is likely to inform immigration laws in states across the country. Already lawmakers in about a dozen states have said they would seek to propose laws similar to SB 1070 if the court upheld its key provisions. “SB 1070, even with some provisions removed, threatens to tear families apart and create a dangerous level of mistrust between law enforcement and women immigrants who fear detention,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), an NCIWR co-leading organization. “By upholding one of the most harmful provisions of the law, the U.S. Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent.” Today’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB 1070 comes as we await the high court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s landmark health care reform legislation. Together, these decisions will have a profound impact on the health and well-being of Latinas and immigrant communities.
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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