The Common Good

Arizona “Papers Please” Law Faces New Challenge

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards, 2011.

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down three of the four provisions of SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law. Now civil rights groups are going after the remaining provision—what many call, the “show me your papers” or “papers please” clause.

Of concern to these groups, along with many leaders in the faith community, is that the law will lead to people being targeted by law enforcement solely because of their race. As Luis Gutierrez (D – Ill.) explains:

"For our young C-SPAN [viewers]: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez … have overcome their very different national origins and became apparently a happy couple. I’m sure Justin helped Gomez learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted country.

"Oh wait a minute, I’m sorry," he continued. "Because I’m not a trained Arizona official, I somehow got that backwards. Actually, Ms. Gomez, of Texas, has helped Mr. Bieber, of Canada, learn all about his adopted country. Justin, when you perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers."

(Watch the video HERE.)

As these challenges to this remaining component of SB 1070 wind through the legal system, faith communities need to wrestle with responding to laws that deny people their God-given dignity because of the color of their skin.

Faith leaders need to join the civil rights community in making sure their opposition to Arizona’s “papers please” provision and other copycat laws in other states are heard.

James Colten is Campaigns Assistant at Sojourners. Follow James on Twitter @JamesColten.

Image: Helga Esteb/Shutterstock

 

 

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