For Immediate Release
June 22, 2012
Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court ruled today that most of Arizona’s SB 1070—the state’s anti-immigration law—was preempted by federal law and therefore unconstitutional. The Court, however, upheld the most controversial provision, the racial profiling provision which allows law enforcement to determine a person’s immigration status if they have a “reasonable suspicion” the person does not have legal status. Today’s decision will not go into effect immediately.
“While we are pleased that the Court rightly struck down most of this dangerous law, we are very concerned that the racial profiling provision was upheld,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “Anti-immigrant laws like SB 1070—much like attacks against health reform and civil rights—are an affront to our values and undermine our fight for a just and equal society.”
Immigrant communities, especially those who are racial and ethnic minorities, experience a number of barriers to achieving healthy living, including language barriers and difficulties accessing quality, affordable health care. Divisive laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 compound these barriers by pushing immigrants, who are largely racial and ethnic minorities, further into the shadows and makes it even harder for them to access the health care they need, further exacerbating health disparities in this country. Such laws are particularly concerning for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities that are significantly comprised of immigrants. As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to be the fastest growing racial groups in the United States, the health of these communities is even more integral to the success of the nation.
APIAHF condemns laws that rely on racial profiling and stereotyping of any community. Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, as well as immigrants in other racial/ethnic communities, have been singled out for far too long by divisive and exclusionary policies that criminalize these communities and leave them without access to health care, educational and economic opportunities. The legacies of being seen as a perpetual foreigner, only limits the ability of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to be fully included in all facets of American life, despite actively contributing to the social and economic success of their communities. APIAHF supports comprehensive reforms that address the myriad of challenges immigrant communities face. The Obama Administration’s recent decision granting relief to DREAM-act eligible youth is a significant step in the right direction and one in which the Administration and policy makers should build on.
APIAHF serves as an anchor institution in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing Initiative and serves with other national organizations to promote racial healing and racial equity. APIAHF stands in solidary with our affiliates and partners working towards social justice.