Vigil for Immigrants’ Rights at 6 PM at NH State House June 25

The NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees (NHAIR) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) expressed alarm at the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today, although it permanently enjoins portions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070. 

Today’s decision affirms that the federal government maintains sole control over immigration policies.  However, it also sustains the egregious “show me your papers” clause which in its implementation implicitly endorses racial profiling.

“Today’s ruling unfortunately upholds the worst part of this mean-spirited law, even as it overturns other sections. In effect, this means one’s human rights can be violated because he or she speaks with an accent or has brown skin.  This is terrible news for immigrants, and for all of us who work to end racial discrimination and to promote civil and human rights,” said Maggie Fogarty, Economic Justice Project Coordinator for the AFSC. 

The two human rights groups, joined by local religious leaders, will hold a vigil outside the State House at 6 pm today.

Both AFSC and NHAIR have strongly opposed Arizona’s SB 1070 since its passage in 2010.  On June 4th, 2010, AFSC signed an amicus brief stating that the law violates both the Arizona and US Constitutions. 

AFSC and NHAIR welcome and support further legal challenges to SB 1070 that would seek to render the entire law as unconstitutional, and call upon immigrant rights advocates to prepare for similar laws to be proposed in state legislatures across the country. 

“In New Hampshire this year, we gave a resounding ‘no’ to this same provision in the form of HB 1494,” said Eva Castillo, Coordinator of NHAIR.  “The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 14-1 to recommend the bill as ‘inexpedient to legislate,’ and the full House agreed on February 15.  But this same legislature did passHCR2, expressing its support for Arizona’s actions.  So we’ll need to stay organized and vigilant to keep a ‘show me your papers’ law from coming to New Hampshire.”

Through decades of experience supporting immigrant families and workers, AFSC and NHAIR have witnessed and documented the conditions under which immigrant families are separated, immigrant workers are mistreated and their labor rights abused.

“We will continue to work together with immigrant communities and other allies to stand against hate and discrimination, and for policies that are welcoming and inclusive.  We are also working to empower the immigrant community by promoting the increase of naturalization and civic engagement,” said Castillo.

AFSC and NHAIR urge Congress and the Obama administration to utilize the following seven principles to guide reform:

  • Adopt economic policies consistent with human rights and trade justice
  • Protect all workers’ labor rights
  • Create a clear, workable path to residency
  • Respect immigrants’ civil and human rights
  • Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Support family reunification
  • Ensure immigrants access to services

June 25, 2012