The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Henderson Condemns Arizona Anti-Immigration Bill as a "Catastrophe in the Making" and Urges Governor to Veto

April 22, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

UPDATE 4/23 – Gov. Brewer signed the bill into law.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, joined with other national civil rights leaders today to condemn Arizona's anti-immigration bill and urge Gov. Jan Brewer to veto it.

Henderson said:

"The passage of SB 1070 is a catastrophe in the making, one that is poised to do great harm to the state of Arizona and to the fundamental ideals on which our country was founded.

This bill would make racial profiling the norm in Arizona by requiring law enforcement to stop, question, detain and arrest anyone that they have a "reasonable suspicion" to believe is undocumented – that is, anyone they suspect of being "foreign."  This is a net so wide and indiscriminate that it will target not only undocumented immigrants but also those with lawful status – legal permanent residents and citizens alike – as well as anyone from any state or nation who travels legally to Arizona for work, leisure or to visit a family member.

The Leadership Conference, along with many of the organizations on this call, is deeply engaged in working at the federal level to fix our broken immigration system. But let's be clear – race and ethnicity have nothing to do with citizenship and legal status. And institutionalizing racial profiling in the misguided attempt to repair immigration is bound to fail, but not before inflicting collateral damage to the state of Arizona and its residents.

As studies have consistently shown, racial profiling is an ineffective and counterproductive law enforcement tactic. Contrary to proponents' claims, this bill would make Arizona less safe by diverting and draining law enforcement resources and discouraging communities from working with law enforcement to report, solve and prevent serious crimes. That's why many Arizona law enforcement officials, including the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, oppose it.

More importantly, racial profiling is blatantly offensive to our shared constitutional and American values. That's why The Leadership Conference is working to convince Congress to introduce and pass the End Racial Profiling Act, which would prohibit profiling based on race, religion, national origin and ethnicity by federal, state and local police.

Immigration policy has often proved a challenge to our country, but it should never be used as a justification to tarnish the fundamental ideal of equal justice, which is the strong thread that binds the diverse fabric of our society together.

In the interest of Arizona and our nation, we urge Governor Brewer to remain faithful to our shared values by vetoing SB 1070." 

Listen to audio of the call (Windows Media)

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