Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to exercise his “authority to limit [federal] cooperation with Arizona officials in their enforcement of SB 1070,” a bill signed into law earlier today by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that forces local police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” to be an illegal immigrant.
“SB 1070 would exacerbate the problem of racial profiling . . . and would continue to compromise the civil rights of citizens, legal residents, tourists and foreign visitors,” the letter says.
The letter also asks Obama to cut off any further potential Memorandums of Understanding between the Department of Homeland Security and state law enforcement officials regarding immigration enforcement. Such agreements, the letter says, “have been subject to serious concerns as local law enforcement agencies have used the new powers to target communities of color, including a disproportionate number of Latinos for arrest.”
“This law will put every policeman in the state on notice that their main duty from now on is to question Hispanics about their citizenship,” Grijalva said. “This is a discriminatory policy that cannot be enforced without committing grave breaches of due process and equal protection. The law will not withstand legal scrutiny, and I call on the president immediately to reject it in the strongest possible terms.”
Grijalva questioned Brewer’s priorities in signing the bill, saying that her focus “should be on working with federal officials – who have sole authority under the Constitution to create and enforce immigration policy – to achieve comprehensive reforms that protect the rights of border communities, recent immigrants, hard-working families and law-abiding businesses. This bill is nothing more than an unfunded mandate that will lead to mistrust between citizens and law enforcement. It has already made Arizona a pariah among state governments, and I am concerned that our great state’s credibility will only suffer further damage if the president does not cut it off at the knees.”