Arizona’s harsh immigration measure was dealt another legal blow as a federal court judge ruled that racial discrimination was a motivating factor for S.B. 1070′s enactment. The ruling came in the case of Friendly House et. al v. Whiting et. al a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights.
The suit is separate and distinct from the suits filed by the federal government that challenge the law based on a separation of powers/supremecy clause argument. Instead, Friendly House takes racism underlying the law head on, arguing that it invites racial profiling of people of color and violates the First Amendment, in addition to interfering with federal law.
Which makes this ruling all the more significant. Many saw the government’s victory in the July 28, 2010 injunction as a bit of a given since it is well-settled law that a significant amount of immigration enforcement lies exclusively within the province of the federal government, and some were even critical of the Department of Justice for not taking a stronger stand concerning the racial discrimination inherent in the bill.
Now there’s not one, but two federal courts of record ruling against the measure. Which means it’s long past time to deal with comprehensive immigration reform.
It’s a point made apparent by Adam Serwer who argues that, much like the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration is a failure of its own rhetoric. An increased enforcement effort aimed at further criminalizing immigration does not deter undocumented people from entering this country any more so than additional enforcement efforts deters illegal drug use.
In fact, it has the same, counter-productive effect. Increase the law enforcement presence around illegal immigration and you only make it more dangerous, drive it further underground and make it more lucrative for those already in the business of exploiting and trafficking in humans.
That means that increase funds for border security doesn’t make the border any safer, which leads to more demand for border security, which inevitably leads to more money going toward border security. But perhaps, given Gov. Brewer’s ties to the private prison industry, this is a calculation her team had already figured out.
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