Monday, the Court struck down three out of four major provisions of SB 1070, recognizing what immigration advocates have long advocated: that states cannot create their own immigration policy. A 50-state patchwork of immigration laws is both untenable and unconstitutional.
By refusing to strike down the “Show Me Your Papers” provision, however, the Court fails to recognize the full harm that SB 1070 will have on the everyday lives of people. While leaving the door open to future challenges, this decision will result in many more immigrant and minority residents being profiled, discriminated against, and unjustly incarcerated before the Court rules on the civil rights implications of that law. Section 2(b) is based on the ugly premise that the U.S. and states should continue to marginalize and vilify immigrants in our communities by enforcing policies that are both impractical and un-American.
Missouri has faced legislation similar to Arizona’s law and Alabama’s HB 56 – most recently in the form of SB 590 during the last legislative session. Not only have these laws been shown to be expensive and divisive in other states, but a threat to immigrant and non-immigrant residents alike. Missourians will not stand to see our immigrant and refugee communities persecuted by “Show Me Your Papers” policies like the ill-advised laws of other states.
The need for meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform has never been clearer. Now is the time for politicians on both sides of the aisle to end the partisan gridlock and come to the table to develop common sense policy that creates a path to citizenship for the undocumented, respects the dignity of immigrant families, and creates communities where all are welcome.
The Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates is coalition of faith, labor, community and business organizations that recognizes the intrinsic value of all people, and organizes and advocates for the basic rights of all immigrants.