San Francisco Has Mixed Feelings About Arizona Immigration Decision

Thumbnail image for nic cage Raising Arizona.jpg
He was here legally!

In April 2010, Supervisor David Campos issued an official resolution to boycott the state of Arizona to demonstrate his opposition toward the state's controversial Senate Bill 1070, which gave cops the authority to check the status of residents without probable cause. Campos wanted to "stand in solidarity" with those in Arizona who felt this law was wrong.

So you might think that San Franciscans would be up in arms after hearing today's news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three parts of S.B. 1070, but stayed its decision on one of the most controversial provisions -- police officers can check the immigration status of those who appear to be illegal immigrants. However, it seems not everyone is dissatisfied.

We talked to immigration rights advocates, whose opinions of the decision appear mixed. In a statement issued Monday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris expressed both hope and concern about the ruling.

"I am pleased with the court's decision, which strikes down some of the most egregious components of Arizona's misguided law," she said. "It also signals potentially significant constitutional concerns with the law's mandate on local police officers to act as enforcers of immigration law."

Meanwhile, Campos described the decision as a "clear defeat," saying he was "very pleased" with the results. "It is a victory for those of us who have indicated that Arizona overreached," he told us.

After all, the Supreme Court knocked the provisions to arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant, as well as the part that would require "unauthorized immigrants" to carry registration papers. It also did away with the part of the law that forbid anyone not authorized for U.S. employment from applying for a job. Campos commended the constitutionality of the Supreme Court, saying that "no matter how a state may try to violate individual rights, at the end of the day the constitution will protect them."

Campos did point out the concerning aspect to this ruling -- the "show me your papers" requirement. "The court indicated that, depending on how that portion of the law is implemented, it could still be unconstitutional," he Campos said.

But others reacted more critically toward the Supreme Court decision. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, rallied Americans to continue fighting "to keep any new Arizona-inspired, anti-immigrant law from being enacted in other states." He criticized the Supreme Court for "punt[ing] on the racial profiling aspect of the Arizona statute."

As the immigration debate continues, all eyes will be on Arizona, watching how the state enforces its new law.

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