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On Wednesday (tomorrow), the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. Arizona, a debate that is focused on SB 1070’s constitutionality. In case you need a reminder, SB 1070 was an anti-immigrant law that set the precedent for others, such as Alabama’s notorious HB 56 and Georgia’s HB 87.
Jeanne Butterfield, Eliseo Medina from SEIU, and others talk about the implications that the Supreme Court’s decision could have in the United States:
From U.S. News and World Report, Jeanne Butterfield talks about the effects that such a law would have on the country:
Other nations would retaliate and treat U.S. citizens unfairly as they travel, work and study abroad. Citizens and immigrants alike would flee from one state to another, seeking freedom from discriminatory laws. Businesses would leave states where their workers and visiting foreign managers were subject to intrusive police demands for “papers.”
The United States could not survive as two nations—one slave, one free. Neither can the United States accommodate two sets of immigration laws—one that requires the Department of Homeland Security to enforce the laws that Congress enacts, and the other that requires all of us, citizens and immigrants alike, to “show me your papers.”
Though pandering politicians claimed they were merely “enforcing our laws,” these measures deter the work of local prosecutors and law enforcement officers because they destroy community policing and erode the ability to investigate violent crimes. That is the opinion of two of the last three state attorneys general from Arizona — one Democrat and one Republican — along with 42 additional former attorneys general from 27 states and the District of Columbia who filed a brief with the Supreme Court against SB 1070.
As the Supreme Court weighs the legal arguments, we must ask how a foolhardy law that legitimizes racial profiling, discrimination and harassment reached the court. Why do conservatives find it acceptable to interrogate and detain people just because of the way they look or speak?
If the U.S. Supreme Court fails to strike down the Arizona law, it will give state after state carte blanche to pass its own version of this wrongheaded law. The country will wind up with a mishmash of varying policies, mostly based on the fantasy that 12 million people, some with longstanding ties and U.S.-born children, are going to pack up and leave.
Brewer argues that it was failure at the federal level that created the illegal immigration problem. And she’s right.
However, only federal action can fix this problem. And on this point, the U.S. Supreme Court must unequivocally set the states straight.
As the Court hears arguments at the legal level, I’d like to share my thoughts from the perspective of a small business owner. I may not be an expert on constitutional law, but I know a thing or two about small businesses and local economies. And I can say this: laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 are bad for small businesses, bad for our local economies, and bad for the country.
On top of that, a lot of the customers who shop at my flea market are immigrants, too. It’s probably 30 percent of the crowd on any given day. Cut any small business’s customer base by 30 percent and I can tell you where it’s going: out of business.