Supreme Court's Mixed Arizona Ruling Spurs Immigrant Action

Immigrant Advocates applaud end to three bad provisions, vow to fight controversial fourth through courts and immigrant empowerment

June 25, 2012 BOSTON — After the mixed Supreme Court decision this morning on the controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law SB 1070, immigrant advocates in Boston and across the nation promised to continue to fight the divisive and destructive law through continued litigation and the empowerment of new immigrant voters.

The "papers please" provision requires Arizona police to check the immigration status of anyone stopped in the normal course of duty. At the same time, the Court struck down the provision enjoining police to arrest anyone who has committed a "deportable offense," the provision that makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to seek or hold a job, and the provision that makes it a crime for anyone not to carry proof of immigration status.

"The Supreme Court today sent a mixed message that simply did not go far enough to protect the civil rights of all Arizona residents," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "Fortunately, the Court overturned most of the provisions that intruded into the federal government's jurisdiction over immigration matters. Yet they upheld the most controversial provision, which forces police officers to profile the skin color and the accent of all those they come into contact with. This sets the nation back on civil rights, and increases distrust of police, eroding community safety. We will continue to support upcoming court challenges to the SB1070 on civil rights grounds. And as we fight this provision, we're also working to empower our communities by promoting the increase of naturalization and civic engagement."

With the help of 100 volunteers, the MIRA Coalition will continue its civic engagement work by launching the FIGHT BACK: VOTE Campaign at the Seaport World Trade Center on June 29. There, 2500 New Americans will be sworn in as citizens; MIRA aims to register at least 1000 of these new citizens to vote on the spot.

The event is just one in a series of voter registration drives being held by the organization at naturalization ceremonies throughout the summer. MIRA aims to register 5,000 New Americans to vote by election time, and to turn out 20,000 New Americans to the polls on November 6.

"The only real way we can ensure that legislators listen to the concerns of immigrants is through our votes," said Marcony Almeida MIRA Director of Organizing. "We need to make our voices heard to prevent legislatures from passing odious laws like SB 1070 and the anti-immigrant bills in our own State House."

As Election Day approaches, MIRA will ramp up its Get Out the Vote efforts by knocking on over 5,000 doors and calling 20,000 new citizens. MIRA's civic engagement campaign also extends into New Hampshire, where we aim to send 10,000 pro-immigrant voters to the polls. MIRA is also asking state and federal candidates to fill out a questionnaire regarding their positions on issues important to immigrant voters. 15,000 of these voter education guides will be published in mid-August to help voters make informed decisions at the polls.

FIGHT BACK: VOTE Campaign

WHEN: Friday, June 29, 2012

11:30 AM - 3:30 PM

WHERE: Seaport World Trade Center, Main Lobby

200 Seaport Boulevard

Boston, MA 02210