Hours ago, the Supreme Court struck down much of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, including provisions that would have made violating federal immigration registration laws or working without proper documentation Arizona crimes.
But the court let stand for now the reprehensible "Show me your papers" provision allowing law enforcement to stop anyone on the street and demand to see their identification and proof of legal residency.
When local police can stop and detain anyone they perceive as "foreign" because of their skin color, their accent or their surname, that's racial profiling, and, says ACLU National Executive Director Anthony Romero, "a watershed moment for civil rights."
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Thought the Supreme Court said that this provision may be unconstitutional, the ruling allows it to take effect even as it is remanded for decision to lower courts. This leaves people in Arizona in jeopardy.
Immediately after the Court issued its ruling, the ACLU announced a special fund created by a few of our top donors to advance our nationwide efforts to stop "show me your papers" anti-immigrant laws from spreading across America.
So far, we've raised $8.77 million. Now our goal is to match that financial investment with grassroots opposition to laws that target people based on how they look.
The ACLU of Montana fought several anti-immigrant bills during the 2011 Montana Legislative Session. And we'll fight any anti-immigrant legislation that comes up in 2013, too -- especially any that encourages law enforcement to racially profile people.
You'll get your chance to do your part this fall when Montanans vote on a ballot issue to deny services to undocumented immigrants. We oppose this measure. Not only would it prevent those who need help from getting it, it would create a situation where immigrants are distrustful of government and law enforcement, cost the state in the form of training and databases and potentially deny services to American citizens when those databases are flawed.
The Supreme Court's direction to states was a clear stop sign on many anti-immigrant provisions of the Arizona law. The message on "show me your papers" was a blinking red light. We need to make sure that Montana has heard the message and doesn't pass anti-immigrant legislation like Arizona's, here in our state.