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A Reminder of Why Politics Matters

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As Republican-Drafted SB 1070 Provision Goes Forward, 

Democrats Feature Undocumented Leader at Convention

Frank Sharry: “The Contrast Could Not Be Clearer, The Stakes Could Not be Higher”

Yesterday featured some stark reminders of why politics and elections matter.

On stage at last night’s Democratic National Convention, DREAM Act advocate Benita Veliz spoke to the assembled delegates and television audience and shared her compelling personal story: “I graduated as a valedictorian of my high school class at the age of 16, and I went on to earn a double major at the age of 20…I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country.  I just feel as American as any of my friends or neighbors.”  Benita applauded the DREAM documentation program recently announced by the Obama Administration, and called on Congress to do its job to pass a permanent, legislative solution.

Other DNC speakers, such as leading congressional immigration reform champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Spanish-language TV star Cristina Saralegui, referred to by some as the “Latina Oprah,” each made the case that this election presents stark choices on key issues for the Latino community.  Said Rep. Gutierrez, “The future of over 1 million good people will be decided in this election.  We can’t deny them.  President Obama is protecting immigrants.  Mitt Romney wants to send them back.”  Meanwhile, Saralegui urged Latinos to vote this November, stating: “So I’m asking today mi gente—all of my people—to join me.  Many of us come from countries where votes aren’t counted properly or are not counted at all.  Here, we Latinos have a powerful voice, but only if we use it.”

Separate from the happenings at the DNC, another reminder about the importance of elections took place in Arizona yesterday, where federal District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the notorious “show me your papers” provision of the state’s SB 1070 anti-immigrant law could be implemented.  While Judge Bolton issued an injunction over a second provision outlawing the harboring of the undocumented, the decision to allow the racial profiling provision to move forward is deeply disturbing.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “We are disappointed in the ruling that allows Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ provision to go into effect, because there is no way this provision will be implemented without racial profiling.  Latinos comprise 30% of Arizona’s population, meaning that 30% of the state will now have to prove themselves to law enforcement simply because of the color of their skin.  As the civil rights violations add up, we hope that the courts will eventually strike down this provision and deliver a final blow to the ugly ‘attrition through enforcement’ strategy that is the purpose of the Arizona law.

“But let there be no mistake – the political proceedings on display in Charlotte and Tampa are directly relevant to the profiling that will undoubtedly occur in Phoenix and Tucson.  The contrast could not be clearer.  The stakes could not be higher.  Latino voters and other Americans who reject the noxious views of Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, and Kris Kobach have an opportunity to voice their displeasure and vote against this view of the nation and this model of immigration policy.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.