Walle: AZ-Law Undermines Public Safety

First-term State Representative Armando Walle (D-District 140) released a statement on Arizona’s SB1070 and the possible introduction of a similar bill in Texas.

“Core American values should not be excluded in pursuit of border security, or in making a statement on immigration.  The passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona represents a giant step backwards, and a movement away from our core American values such as equal protection and due process.  This new, anti-American law will also undermine public safety and trigger a greater budget deficit in Arizona.  Texas cannot afford to go down Arizona’s misguided and wasteful path.

Fair treatment, regardless of the color of someone’s skin or the language they speak, lies at the heart of our American values.  Arizona’s new law fails to provide equal protection for folks in Arizona because “reasonable suspicion” that someone is undocumented could be as simple as how they look or speak.  Arizona law enforcement agents will now have the power to require proof of lawful presence.  In reality, immigration judges are the best referees of determining whether or not someone is in the country legally.  In granting these sweeping powers to law enforcement, Arizona’s new law is chipping away at the right to due process.

Imagine always having to leave home with your birth certificate in hand, or living in constant fear of the authorities who are supposed to keep you safe.  This divisive law will cut off immigrant families from healthy communication with the authorities, and make it harder for law enforcement to do their job.  And public safety in all neighborhoods will suffer.

Already there are calls for Texas to pass similar legislation.  It would be a fiscal nightmare.  If Texas were to pass a similar law, it would spell losses of $69.3 billion in economic activity 403,000 jobs.  While Arizona moves backwards, Texas must take stock of what is best for the safety of our communities and the health of our economy, and follow our values away from Arizona’s example.”

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