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Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s SB 10-70, Upsets People in Neighboring State

June 26, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE - The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld only one of four challenged provisions of Arizona's SB1070 immigration law, the section requiring police to make an attempt to determine immigration status if they have reasonable suspicion a person is undocumented.

New Mexico State Representative Antonio Maestas (D-Abq) says that provision is bad policy. Even so, as neighbors of Arizona, Maestas wants to see New Mexico stand up for immigrants' rights by reversing one of the state governor's first orders after she took office.

"I call on Governor Susana Martinez to rescind her executive order where she ordered all of the law enforcement personnel under her command, the state police, to seek out immigration information from persons that they encounter."

Maestas says that practice just makes us everyone less safe.

Dennis Montoya of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) is also expressing concerns about Governor Martinez' executive order. He says it contributes to the perception of being profiled.

"Also it raises serious concerns under the New Mexico constitution where we have law enforcement acting as surrogate federal agents."

Peter Simonson, executive director of the New Mexico ACLU, says he is concerned about New Mexicans who might be subject to racial profiling or prolonged detention as they travel through Arizona.

"If the 'show me your papers' provision is in fact allowed to go into force, it will incite state and local law enforcement to commit civil rights violations at levels we haven't seen before."

Dennis Montoya says he has no problem with the people of Arizona. In fact, he salutes the valiant efforts of people like U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). But, like Simonson, Montoya is concerned about New Mexicans crossing the Arizona border.

"New Mexico LULAC is seriously considering putting out a travelers' advisory for Hispanics and other people of color entering the state of Arizona."

The injunction blocking the status check section of Arizona's SB1070 immigration law is still in place, and will be until the Supreme Court decision is put into effect, which could take several weeks.

Renee Blake/Beth Blakeman, Public News Service - NM