The Faculty Lounge--one of the leading legal blogs in the country just posted a nice entry on our efforts. Kudos to everyone that is part of this effort to provide counter-narratives, and thank you to all of our recent comments. They are much appreciated and continue to inspire and empower us. Remember the old Latino/a rally call--stand up and say--"Presente."
Here is a link to the Lounge site and below is their entry:
Breathing While Brown: Law Profs Against Arizona SB 1070
Thanks to Professor Ediberto Roman of Florida International Univ. School of Law, and Nuestras Voces Latinas, for organizing the law prof response to Arizona's shameful move to criminalize breathing while brown. The petition below (full text after the jump) calls for the repeal of SB 1070, and for federal action to protect the public against gross civil rights violations. It will be delivered to key members of the Obama Administration, congressional leaders, and the press. To add your name to the list of supporters, contact Prof. Roman directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Immigration and Constitutional Law Experts Against SB 1070
The undersigned law professors, immigration experts, and interested organizations write this petition requesting the Governor and the Legislature of the State of Arizona to repeal SB 1070, or in the alternative, calling upon Congress to conduct hearings on Arizona’s ultra vires act of authorizing local police to enforce federal immigration laws without an express delegation from Congress. The petitioners also urge President Obama to direct the Justice Department Civil Rights Division to mobilize quickly to educate the public how to report civil rights violations associated with SB 1070.
With the passage of SB 1070, the state of Arizona has ignored legal precedent striking down similar state encroachments on federal supremacy relating to immigration. Moreover, courts have held similar encroachments to be violative of Due Process and Equal Protection.
SB 1070 is also unwise public policy that will likely result in repugnant police action such as racial profiling. The law also violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution. It turns the presumption of innocence on its ear and will inevitably lead to wrongful and exceedingly long incarcerations. Specifically, SB 1070 allows local law enforcement to incarcerate individuals until the local authorities are contacted by the U.S. government. Under the Act, whatever a law enforcement has "reasonable suspicion" that the person "is an alien who is unlawfully present int he United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person. The person's immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States Code section 1373 (c)." Presumably, under SB 1070, an accused undocumented person can either file a write of Habeas Corpus in federal court or wait for the federal government to verify his or her status.
Despite contemporary disdain for stereotyping and stigma, this law will empower state police officers to request documentation from people to ascertain whether they are undocumented, which will likely be based solely on the appearance of these presumed illegals or the language they speak. Reminiscent of the shameful raids during one of this country’s darkest hours—Operation Wetback of the 1950s—the efforts by local authorities in Arizona may very well lead to the wrongful incarceration and even deportations of far too many United States citizens and legal residents. Through this act, local authorities will be empowered to presume individuals—most likely Hispanic members of its community— illegal. Such efforts must not be tolerated. SB 1070 will also likely cause undocumented and other members of the immigrant community to be vulnerable to crime, as they will not report crimes to law enforcement if they think that will put them in jeopardy. Not only is this law unconstitutional and unwise public policy, it will cost local and federal taxpayers millions in terms of enforcement, in efforts at verifying status of detained individuals, and through the countless law suits likely resulting from wrongful arrests and false imprisonment. Arizona's act is not only violative of domestic constitutional norms but also the rights to equality and non-discrimination enshrined in binding international human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, that the United States has signed and ratified.
Therefore, the undersigned respectfully request the state of Arizona to rescind its unconstitutional and unwise law, or in the alternative, we urge President Obama and the federal government to step in and protect the civil and human rights of the people of this republic.