In a surprising decision, the United States Supreme Court yesterday struck down an Arizona law that required that anyone registering to vote furnish proof of citizenship. It is important to note that the 7-2 decision does not entirely preclude Arizona or other states from requiring proof of citizenship. A person registering to vote through the state of Arizona will still have to comply with Arizona requirements, even if they are more onerous. However, a person registering to vote in a federal election, using a federal form, will not have to provide proof of citizenship. In writing for the majority, Justice Scalia wrote that a state requirement, such as the one in Arizona, is preempted by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, also known as the Motor Voter Law.
Yesterday's SCOTUS ruling on Arizona's draconian immigration law SB1070 prompted no shortage of press releases from Democrats here in Texas. The bill is a stark reminder of Republicans' hostility towards Latinos, and the way in which many members of the GOP view immigrants as second-class human beings, regardless of their immigration status.
Below the jump, read statements on the SCOTUS AZ decision from State Representative Garnet Coleman, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the Texas Democratic Party, State Representative Carol Alvarado, and State Representative and MALC Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer.
This is BOR's Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment that hopefully provides you with a laugh at the end of the day.
Over the weekend, Sheriff Paul Babeu of Arizona's Pimal County -- and a co-chair of Mitt Romney's campaign in the state -- was "outed" by his secret gay lover. So what's the big deal, right? Homophobic Republicans are constantly being exposed as closet cases. Happens every day, practically. Well, this instance is extra-amusing: the rabidly anti-immigrant Babeu, known as "Mr. Terrible Testosterone" to immigrants in the region, was busted by his undocumented Mexican lover. Babeu had previously kept his lover silent by threatening to deport him if he outed the Sheriff!
However, it turns out he's only against the straight immigrants. Humor site Pocho.com unearthed this video from Babeu's campaign:
Tell me there's not an "I Shot the Sheriff" joke in there somewhere.
Speaking of anti-immigrant Republicans and Arizona, join us tomorrow for our last GOP Debate Watch from Angie's in East Austin. It's the only debate watch that requires two forms of federally issued ID.
Check out all of our BOR videos of the day on the VOTD tag.
What a long strange primary season it has been. We started our BOR GOP Debate Watch events five months ago, with Rick Perry's first appearance in a debate. Since then, Rick dropped out, Romney muddled along, Gingrich briefly grabbed the lead, and now Santorum has surged from the rear once more.
Through it all we've watched Republicans use anti-immigration and anti-Latino rhetoric that has grown increasingly offensive. From opposition to the DREAM Act to varying forms of ineffective border fences to outright racism, Republicans seem determined to do everything they can to alienate Latino and progressive voters.
Now, the Republicans are heading to Arizona, and we're going to hold our final GOP Debate Watch to highlight the anti-immigration and anti-Latino views that will surely be on display.
From SB1070, the draconian "Papers, please!" immigration law, to elected Republican officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former State Senator Russell Pearce, Arizona has become infamous for terrible anti-immigration and anti-Latino policies. Now, those same policies are being echoed by the Republican candidates for President.
Join us for the GOP debate in Arizona. We'll have games, prizes, and surprises to emphasize the anti-immigration stance of the Republican Party.
"Do I Look Illegal?" Arizona GOP Debate Watch Wednesday, February 22, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Angie's, 1307 East 7th Street,
Austin, Texas 78702
RSVP on Facebook
Join BOR as we shine a light on the anti-immigration and anti-Latino rhetoric of the Republicans, and watch what is hopefully one of the last GOP debates this cycle.
"The courts won’t end the controversy over Arizona’s anti-immigration law, only leadership will."
Every seat at the Rose Marine Theatre was taken last night. Sitting next to me was a stylishly dressed, middle-aged Anglo woman who has clearly seen success in her life. She said what I’ve been waiting years to hear — “it’s time people who look like me start speaking out.”
That was the impact of 9500 Liberty, a documentary by filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park, that chronicles the experiences of Prince William County, Virginia, when they passed an ordinance identical to SB 1070 — even written by the same right-wing, anti-immigration think tank.
At the invitation of my friend State Representative Lon Burnam, I hosted 9500 Liberty’s Fort Worth premiere on the very day SB 1070 was supposed to take effect before a federal court thankfully said otherwise. The movie drew a crowd that was equal parts Anglo, African American, and Hispanic. This was so much more than a movie premier; this was a community dialogue.
The documentary takes an interesting turn — not just when the city of Manassas suffers economic hardship and foreclosures as people move out of town, but when an unlikely pair of middle class moms start showing up at council meetings and doing their own research, become bloggers, and yes, become political activists. Their actions gave courage to others.
So I started thinking to myself, who in Texas is inspiring others to speak out?
The debate over immigration has been pushed into the national conversation since the Arizona state legislature passed Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as SB1070. Since Arizona Governor, Republican Jan Brewer, signed SB1070 into law there have been seven separate lawsuits filed against the law, including a lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice. In federal court last week Judge Susan Bolton heard arguments from both sides of Salgado v. Brewer, and this week Judge Bolton will hear arguments in the case brought by the Justice Department. These lawsuits argue that the law is unconstitutional on different grounds including that it violates civil liberty, that it causes racial profiling and that it is an unlawful regulation of federal immigration law.
This law has come at a significant price to Arizona. While the state is facing a budget deficit of more than $4.5 billion dollars, the law is going to cost the state millions of dollars. In addition to the $10 million in initial cost of implementing the law, county and municipal law enforcement agencies will be forced to spend millions of dollars enforcing the law. According to the Immigration Policy Center law-enforcement agencies in Yuma County alone will have to spend between $775,880 and $1,163,820 in processing expenses; jail costs would be between $21,195,600 and $96,086,720; attorney and staff fees would be $810,067-$1,620,134; and additional detention facilities would have to be built at unknown costs. Arizona will also be affected by Latino and immigrant populations that may migrate to states with less hostile environments towards these populations. According to a 2008 study by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, the Latino and immigrant generated $10.2 billion in state economic output, and generated tax revenues of roughly $776 million.
I thought his statement was extremely good, so I've decided to reproduce it in full below:
Born a Suspect
"Life is crazy, sometimes I hate life. Know why? Because I was born a suspect. All black people are born a suspect. I came out my momma's stomach, anything that happened within a 3 block radius, I was a suspect." --Chris Rock, "Born Suspect"
Chris Rock uses humor to illustrate a sentiment felt by many people of color in this country. This is the sad, sorry legacy of Jim Crow laws that were meant to divide and suppress a group of people, and it will be the legacy for Latinos if laws like the ones in Arizona are allowed to stand.
Under Arizona's stringent anti-immigrant legislation, a person can be born a suspect because the law now makes their ethnicity "reasonably suspicious."
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law. I'm proud of the Department of Justice for stepping in to stop legislation that will create a sense of terror for many residents of Arizona. I'm fully opposed to Arizona's misguided law because it will erode the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and legal residents who look a certain way. As an African American, I'm all too familiar with the effects of racial profiling and the strain that it places between law enforcement and communities.
Besides being morally reprehensible, the Arizona law will take precious resources from law enforcement and drive a wedge between police and communities of color. I'm grateful to our federal government for clearly stating that legislation that encourages racial profiling and puts U.S. citizens in harm's way is not welcome anywhere in our country.
I'm hopeful that this lawsuit will dissuade other states from mirroring Arizona's ill-advised and unconstitutional law. Fortunately, leaders in Texas from both parties have spoken against Arizona's immigration law, making it clear that it does not belong on our books. Texas is not Arizona.
Click here to read the press release sent by the Department of Justice on the lawsuit.
We spend a lot of time in these news updates showing how charges of voter fraud are used to discredit voter participation efforts and prime the pump for voter suppression efforts, such as the passage of voter ID bills, pushing for proof of citizenship, engaging in draconian voter purge efforts, and imposing sever restrictions on voter registration drives. We have also spent a lot of time carefully delineating the politics behind these efforts, starting with our March 2007 report The Politics Of Voter Fraud and continuing on in these diaries to name but two venues.