Monday, May 3, 2010

In Our Community: Immigration News

The new Arizona law, and the corresponding need for decisive federal action on immigration reform legislation, continue to make headlines across the nation. So, grab a seat, buckle up, and get ready for key updates from Monday, April 26 to Monday, May 3.

The new Arizona law, which requires police officers to stop anyone who they "reasonably suspect" to be an undocumented immigrant, has been broadly criticized for permitting racial profiling. Its opponents include President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, members of Congress, the Arizona association of chiefs of police, the mayor of Phoenix, the sheriff of Pima County, many American Indians, many religious groups, immigrants rights organizations, civil liberties advocates, and more. Al Sharpton says that he is organizing "freedom walkers" to march on Arizona. Click here to learn how you can take action to oppose rampant racial profiling in Arizona.

Critics of the new Arizona law are calling for economic boycotts of the state. This means avoiding traveling to Arizona and choosing not to purchase products from companies based in Arizona. Several cities have already chosen to divest from Arizona while others - including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC - are considering doing so. You can do your part: See this website for easy ways to participate in the boycott.

Please note: Arizona will likely face a number of lawsuits to stop the implementation of the new law - but some recent changes to the new law may make it harder to litigate. Meanwhile, seven states are considering similar legislation.

While all eyes are on Arizona, let's not forget that immigration enforcement is out-of-control on the federal level too. Bill Quigley, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, has an excellent op-ed on the "Secure Communities" program which also leaves the door open for racial profiling. In addition, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has released a new report on immigration detention in New Jersey - and the New York Times is shocked at their findings.

Finally, last Thursday, Senators Reid, Schumer, Menendez, Durbin, and Feinstein introduced a draft framework for an immigration reform bill. Senator Menendez, in particular, spoke eloquently about the need for Congress to take action. You can watch the video clip of his speech at the press conference here. FCNL's statement on the framework is available here.

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