Arizona has take a giant step backwards. With callous regard to human rights, civil rights, and worker rights, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1070 into law, one of the most blatant examples of anti-immigrant and racist legislation in recent memory. Based solely on appearance, persons who look foreign are at risk of triggering suspicion, inspection and possible deportation. Lucas Guttentag, director of the immigrants’ rights project for the American Civil Liberties Union says the law, “will increase racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos and anyone who might appear to be an immigrant.”
The civil and human rights community is outraged. The law will take effect in 90 days unless SB1070 is challenged legally. Add your voice of outrage and opposition to this racist and backwards law. The following are statements from the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) on this controversial anti-immigration law.
Statement by the NaFFAA National Board
On Arizona’s Anti-Immigration Law
We join the voices of civil rights leaders, constitutional rights scholars and legal experts across the country who have expressed grave concerns about Arizona’s anti-immigrant enforcement law, SB 1070. Among other things, this measure allows law enforcement to question anyone based on “reasonable suspicion” that they may be undocumented. Even citizens and legal immigrants caught not carrying proof of their U.S. legal status could be charged as felons.
We share the widespread alarm within the Asian Pacific American community that this law legalizes unchecked racial profiling by police authorities and places all minorities under constant suspicion. It instills fear and distrust in government and undermines this country’s principles of justice, fairness and equal treatment under the law.
Sixty four years ago, our own Carlos Buloson wrote about being treated like a criminal because he was Filipino. During his time, Filipinos were often the target of racial violence. Law enforcement authorities routinely stopped and searched cars with Filipino men. “I came to know afterward that in many ways it was a crime to be a Filipino in California,” Bulosan wrote in his autobiography. “I came to know that the public streets were not free to my people.”
We’ve come a long way as a nation in welcoming people from different lands who wish to make America their home. Arizona’s new law is a step backward and moves this great country in the wrong direction. It brings back the America that rejected Bulosan for being Filipino. As immigrants, we’ve all toiled and suffered and shared the same journey when we came to this country. We have enriched America with our skills and talents. We have built strong communities and contributed immensely to our nation’s progress.
It’s for these reasons that we urge Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that reunites families, strengthens communities and promotes basic freedoms. We call on our elected officials to once and for all enact an immigration reform measure that upholds our Constitution, respects civil liberties and human rights, and celebrates our nation’s values of inclusiveness, compassion and justice.
NaFFAA invites everyone in the Filipino American community to endorse this statement and join us in working together for a fair, just and humane immigration reform.
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The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan tax-exempt organization established in 1997 to promote the active participation of Filipino Americans in civic and national affairs. NaFFAA is composed of 12 regions with a national office in Washington, D.C. that monitors legislation and public policy issues affecting Filipino Americans. NaFFAA partners with local affiliate organizations and national coalitions in advocating for issues of common concern.
Get educated about immigration reform bills that will soon be introduced and debated. Senator Schumer’s (D-NY) immigration bill promises to be heavy on border and interior enforcement, replicating on a national level what is happening in Arizona. On Monday, he claimed: “We believe our blueprint is even stronger than the Arizona senators’ (McCain) proposal in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants because our plan both increases border security and prevents employers from hiring illegal immigrants.” He continued: “We would certainly be open to negotiating a comprehensive bill that requires completion of border security measures before any other measures take effect.” According to Filipino Advocates for Justice, this does not bode well for the civil rights of immigrants nor for our demands for legalization now.
For more information, contact Lillian Galedo at: firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 465-9876×301