Immigration: Local activists praise, criticize Supreme Court's Arizona ruling
Organizers at CIRC plan to stage a celebratory rally within the next 72 hours to praise much of the ruling and outline their remaining concerns to constituents. In the meantime, CIRC's standing is echoed across the city. "Unfortunately, the ruling upholds the worst part of the mean-spirited law," says Jordan Garcia, who represents the American Friends Service Committee's Coloradans For Immigrant Rights project. "In effect, it means that speaking with an accent or being a different color or any other form of racial profiling can trigger a huge violation of human rights. It undermines the moral fiber of the U.S. Constitution, and it allows other states the right to create similar laws."
Garcia urges action during the next election cycle. "Obama asked us to make him do it, to make him pass humane immigration reform, and as the election approaches, that's something we have to ask him to do," he says. "Creating reform on the national level is the only thing that can fix some of these issues."
Lisa Duran, executive director of Rights For All People, stands by the same call for national reform. "Given the political agenda that the majority of the Supreme Court is currently pursuing, it was too much for me hope that they would see the injustice of all four provisions," Duran says. "I'm extremely disturbed and disappointed that they upheld a provision that basically codifies racial profiling. The injustice of this mixed decision, and the example it creates for other states, really points to the need to get a nationwide, comprehensive immigration reform law enacted."
Earlier this month, activist Javier Hernandez occupied Denver's Obama For America headquarters for six days to push the President to sign an executive order halting the deportation of undocumented youth like him and fellow protester Veronica Gomez. Days later, the Obama administration made a nationwide announcement that answered many of his concerns: Those youth who do not threaten national security and adhered to a list of educational and legal requirements will no longer be deported.
Kelsey Whipple Javier Hernandez and Veronica Gomez speak to the public after ending their hunger strike.
Hernandez remains skeptical of both Obama's announcement and the Supreme Court's, which he and supporters of immigrant rights group Colorado Organized Resist Escalate see as partial victories. "Basically, the Supreme Court just said it was okay for racial profiling to be legal in this country," Hernandez says. "What is reasonable suspicion? That could be the clothes you're wearing, the way you speak, and that's absurd."
Read the Supreme Court's ruling here:
Supreme Court Decision Arizona Immigration
More from our Immigration archive: "Undocumented youth deportation: Advocates joyful, skeptical of Obama policy change."