On the surface, the Supreme Court’s decision concerning the Arizona immigration law seems like a victory for immigration reform. In a 5-3 ruling, the Court struck down three of the law’s most important provisions and once again asserted the Federal government’s authority on issues of immigration. The justices ruled that any state officer who pulls over a suspected illegal immigrant cannot detain that person without the approval of Federal immigration agents. On top of that, the Court also struck down the provisions that made it a crime for immigrants to seek employment without work permits and to not carry their immigration papers. However, striking down these unjust and unfair laws, while certainly a step in the right direction, is just that: a step in the right direction. By upholding the provision that allows the police to “stop, question, and briefly detain” any suspected illegal immigrant, the Court’s made it abundantly clear that America has a long way to go. The inevitable consequence of such a decision is rampant racial profiling among Arizona law enforcement officers and the irreparable degradation of Latinos across America.
Supporters of the law are already commending the Supreme Court for upholding the most racist provision of SB 1070. It’s truly a shame, because those commendations contradict everything the United States stands for. America is a melting pot, full of diversity and free of judgement. We deserve to live our lives without the fear of being racially profiled. That, my friends, is no longer possible. Jan Brewer may think the Court’s decision is a “victory for the rule of law”, but it’s certainly not a victory for the 50 million Latinos currently living in the United States. Do you think an officer is going to pull over a white female and ask her to prove she’s living in America legally? Is he going to pull over a black male and demand to see proof of legal residence? Of course not. Arizona officers are only going to stop and question one group of people: Mexicans. They’re not going to pull over Asians, they’re not going to pull over white people, and they’re not going to pull over African-Americans. They’re going to pull over Latinos. Why? Because 99% of illegal immigrants come from Mexico, and if you’re trying to deport our immigration “problem”, a Latino is your best bet.
Those who support this bill and claim that it won’t lead to uncontrolled racial profiling are blind. They ignore the very essence of the law because they like what it’s trying to do. The ends, however, do not justify the means. Racial profiling has no place in our country. It’s wrong to assume that all Muslims hate America and it’s wrong to assume that every Latino is an illegal immigrant. I’m extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court not only affirmed the practice of racial profiling, but effectively legalized it. I admit that the law doesn’t call for profiling of any kind. However, it doesn’t take much effort to see the truth. Whether Arizona wants it or not, racial profiling will be proliferated by this law.
Although I applaud the Court for striking down most of SB 1070, I’m saddened that the worst and most xenophobic provision was kept in place. It’s a shame that our justices were unable to recognize the consequences of upholding this provision and I can only hope that Arizona law enforcement officers have the restraint to think logically and stop themselves from profiling.