Villaraigosa: Heartened to a point by ruling on SB 1070

av-obama-lax.jpgMayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who's emerging as a major public face on immigration and Latino affairs for President Obama's reelection campaign, calls today's Supreme Court decision on the Arizona law that targets illegal immigrants "only a partial victory."

Here's his statement:

I am heartened by today’s Supreme Court decision to strike down key elements of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070. The Supreme Court rightly upheld the bedrock constitutional principle that the federal government alone has the power to regulate immigration. It is clear that the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice were right to challenge this law.

But today’s ruling must be seen as only a partial victory. The Supreme Court’s decision does allow Arizona to implement the law’s most problematic and potentially most harmful section: the ‘papers please’ provision.

By requiring police officers to demand documents of anyone they suspect of being in the country without authorization, Arizona risks creating a culture of fear and suspicion. Implementation of the law will undermine the trust between the police and the public, driving a wedge between police officers and the community they serve. The papers please provision opens the door for racial profiling, and I believe it will be impossible to implement this law without discrimination. This will just invite further litigation.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court rightly drew attention to the lasting contributions that immigrants have made to this country. We need a sensible and humane national immigration policy. We do not need a confusing patchwork of 50 state laws. It is time for Congress to act. It is time to pass the DREAM ACT and it is time to enact comprehensive immigration reform. We need a national solution to this national challenge.

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