U.S Supreme Court Immigration Law Decision: LGBT Orgs. React

[Continuously updated with other organization leaders’ reactions]

BOSTON, Mass. —The United States Supreme Court today just released its decision about SB1070, the 2010 Arizona Immigration Law. In such a decision, according to MassEquality, the Court “struck down three key provisions” of the immigration law but upheld the key provision that allows “police to arrest immigrants without a warrant if there was a belief that they had committed an offense that warranted deportation; making it illegal for immigrants to be caught without registration papers; and preventing immigrants who are not authorized to work legally in the United States from seeking employment.”

Reactions over the Internet are strong to the High Court decision. Metroweekly reports that more than “30 LGBT, HIV/AIDS organizations” are calling for National Immigration Reform in the wake of the ruling.  The organizations include: Lambda Legal; LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress; AFL-CIO – Pride at Work; Atticus Circle; Center Link: The Community of LGBT Centers; COLAGE; Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals; Equality Federation; Family Equality Council; Freedom to Marry; GLAAD; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA); Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); HIV Law Project; Human Rights Campaign; Immigration Equality; International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.; Latino Commission on AIDS; PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays); Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE); The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD); National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE); National Coalition for LGBT Health; National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund; National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance; Out & Equal Workplace Advocates; and Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).

In a joint statement, the organizations issued the following statement to Metroweekly.

“The ‘show-me-your-papers’ provision in SB 1070 is clearly discriminatory but unfortunately was not struck down. LGBT immigrants and LGBT people of color remain particularly vulnerable because this provision in SB 1070 requires police to stop and question people based on their appearance. The LGBT community knows all too well how easily people who are perceived to ‘look different’ or ‘act different’ can be singled out for harassment and persecution,” they state. “The law particularly threatens LGBT people of color and LGBT immigrants, many of whom already experience heightened hostility, harassment, and even violence based on their appearance, behavior, dress, and other characteristics. This wrongful treatment often occurs at the hands of local officials who lack a basic understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression diversity.”

Several MA organization leaders react to this decision.

MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini, Esq. issued the following statement:

“We are happy that the US Supreme Court found three of our provisions of the 2010 Arizona immigration law unconstitutional, and that the Court left the door open for future challenges to the fourth piece of the law. This odious law is distinctly un-American. Discrimination based on the way one looks or speaks violates the core American value of equal treatment, and, perpetrated at the hands of government, it’s a particularly unconscionable violation of human dignity and equality under the law.

“MassEquality is working to create a Commonwealth and a country where everyone is equally valued and able to live safe, authentic lives, free from harassment, discrimination and violence simply because of who they are. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities are unfortunately all too familiar with the daily experience of having to be careful about how they appear, how they behave, how they speak and where they go in order to avoid being punished solely because of their appearance. Members of the LGBT community who are also immigrants have that much more to worry about when lawmakers attempt to legalize such profiling by law enforcement. Profiling by law enforcement—the very entity upon which we should be able to rely in America to keep us safe, protect our rights, and preserve our dignity—is a particularly horrific assault on American values of freedom and opportunity. It makes all of us less safe as it discourages anyone in need of police assistance from contacting the police for fear of being profiled.

“Here in Massachusetts, lawmakers have the opportunity to make it much more difficult for law enforcement personnel to engage in profiling in the Commonwealth, and we hope they will seize it. Two bills sponsored by state Rep. Byron Rushing and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz would prohibit law enforcement personnel from relying on race, ethnicity, or national origin in determining who should be subjected to traffic stops, bodily frisks and searches, and other forms of police interrogation and would require the collection of racial demographic data when police stop motorists who are not wearing seatbelts in order to discourage police officers from using the seatbelt law as a pretext for pulling over people of color.

“Freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence based solely on how we look and who we are is an aspiration we all should share and a basic human right to which we’re all entitled.”

Caspar, Inc. Executive Director Wilfred Labiosa, shared his thoughts t:

“It is so important for us as a Latino lgbt community to stand strong with our Arizona brothers and sisters because now more than ever we will have racial profiling. I am disapointed on this decision. This is a disappointing day for the us … melting pot?”

More reactions to come … please stay tuned.

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