South Asians Seek Rejection of Tough US Immigration Law

Washington, Apr 26 (IANS): As the US Supreme Court began a hearing on Arizona State's tough immigration law, a South Asian umbrella organisation asked the apex court to reject the law that it said permits racial profiling."

Passed in April 2010, the "show me your papers" law, as it is called by critics, "permits racial profiling of immigrant communities and communities of colour regardless of immigration status", South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said in a statement Wednesday.

The law, SB1070, includes provisions that allow police officers to ask individuals to show proof of their residency status based on the reasonable suspicion that they are undocumented. Failure to provide such proof is a criminal offence.

The Obama administration has challenged the Arizona law, saying immigration matters are under the federal government's exclusive authority.

"It is imperative for the Supreme Court to strike down SB1070 in order to protect the basic rights of all individuals," said Priya Murthy, policy director at SAALT.

"The law encourages racial profiling, as police can target individuals simply based upon their skin colour, accent, or language that they speak, whether they are US citizens or not."

This impact on South Asians is clear, as demonstrated by South Asian organizations, including SAALT and Arizona South Asians for Safe Families, which have joined amicus briefs challenging this law.

"Our community will continue to be viewed as suspects by law enforcement and the general public based upon appearance and this law will deepen mistrust of police during times of need," SAALT said.

SAALT joins immigrant and civil rights organizations across the country in urging the Supreme Court to uphold the basic rights for all and to strike down this law, it said.

States beyond Arizona, including Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, have also passed similar laws.


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