Is America Turning Into Racist, Right-Wing Arizona?
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As with the racial profiling provisions of SB-1070, the racial profiling at the heart of 287g and SCOMM has been the subject of class-action law suits by the ACLU and others, who have documented widespread SB 1070-like racial profiling by Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and other federal authorities. Garcia and Derechos Humanos’ decade-long fight against reasonable suspicion component of Tucson’s Juan Crow laws has yielded similar findings, similar stories with grave consequences.
While President Obama was declaring that he was “pleased” that the Court struck down three provisions of the law and while Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was claiming “victory” on the reasonable suspicion provision, Isabel Garcia told me the story of Rene Torres. “Rene Torres was an honorable man; he had five US citizen children; he paid his taxes; he lived in Arizona for many years -- but he had no papers,” she said.
“In the first months of the Obama administration, Rene was racially profiled by Tucson sheriffs, handed over to ICE and then deported. He then died in the desert when he tried to come back to be with his five children and his wife. He died because local laws allowed local sheriffs to racially profile him,” said Garcia. “I fear that the Supreme Court has just made it easier for people across the country to suffer or even die like this. This is why we must continue to fight and defeat this racist law.”
Roberto Lovato is a frequent contributor to The Nation, and a New York-based writer with New America Media.
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