Albany – Today, the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force held a press conference in Albany, NY to raise their voices against an immigration bill which was recently signed into law by Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer. This bill allows authorities to demand proof of legal entry into the United States from anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The members of the Task Force are appalled that Arizona State Governor, Jan Brewer, would sign this bill into law even after the huge public outcry against it.
Assemblyman Ortiz has sent a letter to President Obama calling for swift action on Immigration Reform in order to stop other states from considering similar legislation. “This legislation is a threat to our constitution and all immigrants. The Fourth Amendment gives U.S. citizens the right to privacy and to be free from ‘unreasonable’ searches. The Arizona law removes that right by requiring police to stop anyone they believe are in our country illegally.” said Mr. Ortiz.
Other New York State Assemblymembers also shared these sentiments. Assemblyman David Weprin said: “The passing of this divisive immigration law in Arizona is outrageous. This great country was built by immigrants who have come here in hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families. A law such as this, which allows for racial profiling, only sets us back.”
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny stated: "As the Chair of the Task Force on New Americans and as a former immigrant from the Soviet Union, I must say I am outraged by Arizona’s Bill SB1070. This law is the ultimate form of discrimination protected in law. Targeting individuals based on nationality or ethnicity is an attack on the very notion of human rights. Discrimination in law enforcement protects racial profiling and challenges the fundamental nature of America. We must learn from our history and such a bill is a step back in the wrong direction."
"I am curious as to what type of training will be provided to officers, teaching them what an illegal immigrant looks like and who should be arrested. I wonder if, according to this new law, my children and I may be arrested for ‘looking’ illegal. Dr. Martin Luther King would roll over in his grave if he knew about this law-essentially judging people on the color of their skin and not their character. It goes against everything Americans have fought for." said Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
Assemblyman Nick Perry said: “I certainly can understand Arizona's frustration with the drugs pouring into their state due to ineffective border enforcement, nonetheless, this type of legislation is mostly driven by latent or demonstrated hate, bigotry and xenophobia, and is totally un-American to any citizen with a true sense of who we are.”
Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera stated: “I remain reproachful about the specifics of this legislation. The prospect of other states passing similar reform measures will only create a patchwork of varying rules when serious immigration discussions must first take place at the federal level. We cannot allow a single state to constitute the legality on such a divisive issue, especially when the language in such a bill calls for unfair treatment of specific ethnic groups. The job of law enforcement officials is to protect communities, not enforce immigration policies.”
"The immigration law signed by the Governor of Arizona tramples on the fundamental rights of immigrants and all Americans who could now be subjected to racial profiling and unconstitutional searches," said Assemblyman Philip Ramos.
“The federal government's failure to implement comprehensive immigration reform has now brought us to a point were policy decisions such as the recent Arizona immigration law is a measure that infringes on Constitutional rights. Most of the Arizona-Mexico border is now protected by fences and it has 4,000 Border Patrol agents permanently stationed there. Yet these strategies have failed to fully accomplish their intended goals as hundreds of thousands of border crossings are attempted there each year. Now our federal government must act to prevent an environment where ethnic profiling will become the de facto enforcement of failed immigration laws,” stated Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, Speaker Pro Temp of the New York State Assembly.
As former President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, Assemblyman Ortiz is also urging all of its members to speak up and voice their concern regarding this legislation. “Arizona fails to recognize that our country was built on the backs of hardworking immigrants. This new law unfairly targets Hispanics and puts fear in the heart of every minority mother raising her children in Arizona. We, as public officials, should move together in unity to make sure that immigrants in Arizona, as well as throughout the States, do not have to suffer such a fate.” said Ortiz.