Grijalva: Upholding SB 1070 status checks 'a grave error'
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva on Monday released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling striking down most of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law and the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to revoke its 287(g) law enforcement task force agreements with Arizona law enforcement agencies:
"Today's Supreme Court ruling largely struck down a law we have always recognized as an extremist attempt to undermine our core values and our Constitution. The court's decision reaffirmed that SB 1070 and its many imitators are not an acceptable substitute for a federal immigration standard.
"The rationale for states to invent their own laws as they see fit has been wiped away. Now it's time for Congress to listen to what the Court said in its ruling. It's our job to fix this. No one else has the authority, and no one else has the responsibility. Anyone who wants to keep the system broken and wait for states to make things uglier one at a time lost a big battle today.
"Unfortunately, the Court made a grave error in upholding the discriminatory 'show me your papers' provision that violates basic rights and denies equal justice. This is the most poisonous part of the law, and its legality will rightly be challenged on equal protection grounds in the courts. This is not the end of our efforts to uphold equal and legal treatment for the American people.
"Despite the state's 30 percent Latino population, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made a career of widespread racial profiling and discrimination. If his recent statements are any indication, he is unrepentant. That's why it was so significant today that the Department of Homeland Security announced it has terminated its 287(g) 'task force' agreements with Arizona's law enforcement agencies. DHS officials have been directed not to respond to law enforcement activity unless the suspect meets federal enforcement priority guidelines, such as already being a convicted criminal or having reentered the country after a lawful removal. These steps mean that Arizonans will be protected from discriminatory or targeted enforcement actions by Arpaio and any other law enforcement agent tempted to ignore federal guidelines.
"This is in keeping with frequent requests by Members of Congress and civil rights organizations concerned about the long history of civil rights violations in parts of Arizona. The federal government has made the right decision and deserves our thanks. Now Congress must find a responsible solution to immigration reform that promotes respect for the law, keeps law enforcement focused on criminal behavior, and benefits all Americans. Opponents of bipartisan reform have truly run out of excuses. The rest of us stand ready to finish the job."