NM leaders: Feds need to reform immigration system
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law won’t mean much for policy in New Mexico, according to the Albuquerque Journal. In the meantime, most members of the state’s delegation in D.C. and the governor said the ruling points to the need for federal immigration reform.
What will the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law mean for policy in New Mexico? Not much, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The newspaper reported that “immigrants’ rights advocates say lawmakers (in New Mexico) have avoided a punitive approach.” From the newspaper:
“But civil rights activists say the high court’s failure to strike down Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ provision has troubling implications.
“‘We remain particularly concerned for New Mexicans… traveling through the state of Arizona who might be subject to racial profiling and prolonged detention,’ Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said Monday.
“And the high court’s ruling revived calls from some activists for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to rescind her 2011 order that State Police ask about the immigration status of those they arrest.
“That’s not about to happen: Martinez says it’s a border-related public safety issue.
“Nor is Monday’s ruling going to change procedures in New Mexico’s largest city, where Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry started a policy in 2010 requiring an immigration status check of everyone arrested.
“Berry — a Republican who also described his policy as a public safety matter — said the high court ruling ‘validates our pragmatic approach’ of having federal officials check the immigration status of criminal suspects.”
The court on Monday tossed three provisions in Arizona’s law but left the most controversial provision intact – the piece requiring state and local police officers to ask about immigration status during a traffic stop if they have reasonable suspicion that the person might be in the United States illegally. The court essentially sent this part of the case back to a lower court for further consideration based on how the law is applied.
NMPolitics.net asked all five members of New Mexico’s delegation in Washington, D.C. and the governor for comment. Here’s what we got:
U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat
“The Supreme Court struck down three major aspects of the Arizona law, but said it was too early to decide whether a fourth controversial aspect of the law is constitutional until it could see how the state would implement it. On balance I think it was a well-reasoned decision that affirms that immigration policy is in the province of the federal government,” Bingaman said.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Democrat
“The Arizona ruling rightly clarifies the federal government’s broad authority over immigration policy. Until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, we’re inviting states to enact a patchwork of poorly conceived laws, like Arizona’s, that may infringe on citizens’ civil rights and encourage racial profiling,” Udall said.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, Republican
Pearce’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment, but the congressman was quoted by the Journal as saying, “Until we get serious about immigration reform in Washington, these states will be forced to continue fending for themselves while Washington keeps their hands tied behind their back.”
U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, Democrat
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, but I’m concerned that the ‘show me your papers’ provision that is still intact casts a wide net over all people of Hispanic descent, and will undoubtedly snare honest, hardworking Americans in a misguided attempt to deport undocumented immigrants,” Heinrich said.
“Arizona’s legislation was the wrong reaction to a very real issue. Passing laws that institutionalize racial profiling is no solution,” he said. “I am proud that here in New Mexico we value our diverse heritage. Congress must rise to the challenge and fix this broken system at the federal level once and for all.”
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Democrat
“While the Supreme Court decision struck down a number of the provisions of SB 1070 and reaffirmed that immigration requires a solution at the federal level, I do have concerns with the part of the law that was left in place,” Luján said. “This decision serves as yet another reminder of the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level that fixes our broken system.”
Gov. Susana Martinez, Republican
“I have always maintained that immigration reform should take place at the federal level, and that is consistent with the Supreme Court ruling today,” Martinez said. “While I never supported an Arizona-style law in New Mexico, I understand the frustration felt by Arizonans, given the federal government’s failure to address the immigration issue.”
“In New Mexico, we have tackled public safety issues relating to border security in responsible ways, such as ending the sanctuary state policy that prevented state police from checking the immigration status of those arrested for crimes and seeking to repeal the law that gives driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants,” she said.
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