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Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez
18 Aug 2015
Finding Dad in a Museum

There I was, on my Great Hispanic American History Tour, visiting yet one more gallery where our heritage is … Read More.

10 Jun 2015
Smithsonian Omits Hispanics in US History Exhibit

On the broad streets of Washington, D.C., and within the majestic halls of the U.S. Capitol, our often-hidden … Read More.

22 Apr 2015
Searching for Not-So-Hidden Hispanic Heritage in Washington, DC

When we go to our nation's capital, mostly as tourists trying to make time to cover all the major attractions,… Read More.

The Supreme Court Is Getting Scary


For many years, when they were telling us what they had in mind, the rest of us refused to believe them. It was just too cruel — too inhumane for the American people to allow it.

When immigration hawks said they wanted to make living conditions so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they would voluntarily self-deport, we thought it was impossible for us to create so much suffering without feeling guilty about it.

"We are a compassionate nation of immigrants," we told ourselves. "We cannot trample on the tired, poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

But that is exactly what we are doing, now with a seal of approval from our highly politicized Supreme Court.

The high court's decision last week to uphold a tough Arizona law against businesses that hire undocumented immigrants may unleash a new wave of measures designed to strangle immigrants until they are forced to go back to where they came from.

Mind you, this is not the most infamous Arizona law — the one that would institutionalize racial profiling against all immigrants by allowing police to question anyone's immigration status. This one empowers local authorities to shut down any business that knowingly hires an undocumented immigrant.

This one, the Legal Arizona Workers Act, now is likely to be copied by many other states and likely to eventually displace millions of undocumented workers across the country. It gives employers no other choice but to fire workers whose status cannot be verified through the federal E-Verify program.

And it says a lot about the inclinations of the Supreme Court, which soon could be tackling the other Arizona law, SB 1070, parts of which have been found unconstitutional by a federal court but are awaiting an appeal to the high court.

Let's face it: On the issue of immigration, the Supreme Court is getting scary.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that "either directly or through the uncertainty that it creates, the Arizona statute will impose additional burdens upon lawful employers." In fact, it will create a mountain of red tape for our struggling small businesses. Breyer also hinted that it could lead to discrimination, even against legal job applicants, because now employers will be likelier to "erect ever stronger safeguards against the hiring of unauthorized aliens, without counterbalancing protections against unlawful discrimination."

Other opponents, including the Obama administration, had argued that immigration policy is reserved by the Constitution to the federal government and that states cannot authorize themselves to set immigration policy.

Yet by a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court held that federal immigration law does not obstruct Arizona from suspending or revoking the licenses of businesses that violate state immigration law. It said Arizona merely is reinforcing federal laws that already exist.

"Arizona hopes that its law will result in more effective enforcement of the prohibition on employing unauthorized aliens," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. He noted that "the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law."

Of course it does! The court is dangerously blurring the line between federal and local jurisdiction because it, too, has been swept up by the current anti-immigrant tsunami that has been devastating our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants.

It's pure politics, or "a tortured product of judicial activism responding to perceived political views of the moment," according to Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

He is absolutely correct. But if the court's conservative majority feels the same way about SB 1070, get ready for widespread and legal racial profiling and discrimination against all immigrants in this country.

"Upholding Arizona's law that requires mandatory implementation of E-Verify or (the threat of losing your business license) is opening a path forward for local governments to legislate discriminatory laws against undocumented immigrants, who will suffer further persecution, family separation, unlawful incarceration and deportation, without due process or a chance to legalize their present status," said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, one of the organizations that filed a lawsuit against Arizona's SB 1070. He said the court's decision illustrates the urgent need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Mind you, many immigrant rights activists agree that some strict measures to prevent future illegal immigration are necessary, but only after we have found a way to legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here. To do it now, without first putting those 11 million people on a path to legalization, would be criminal and inhumane.

We would be tearing families apart like never before, denying ourselves much-needed workers and hurting the economy to quench the immigrant-bashing thirst of xenophobes, white supremacists and race-baiting politicians.

We didn't really believe they could make 11 million people so miserable that they would go back to their homelands voluntarily; we didn't think our national conscience would allow them to be so mean-spirited. But now, unfortunately, they have the backing of the Supreme Court to go on with their shameful behavior.

To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
We are a nation of laws. The laws are meant to be followed. People who do not follow the laws are ... uh... undocumented car owners or undocumented bank robbers or undocumented murderers. No. They are criminals. If, they are caught, tied in Court and found guilty they become convicted criminals and are punished for their actions. "Undocumented" immigrants are people who have not followed the laws of this country. There is, in reality, no such thing as an "illegal immigrant". They are criminal, illegal, alien invaders. I've clearly articulated that immigrants are good for The USA. I am not, nor ever have been, against immigrants. There are consequences for not following laws. That... is... how... it... works. Some are caught, prosecuted, and punished. Some look over their shoulders in fear all their lives. Consequences. It is too bad, when "amnesty advocates" continue to be obstructionists, rather than Patriots. Amnesty is a slap in the face to all who follow the law and become USA Citizens.
Comment: #1
Posted by: David Henricks
Wed Jun 1, 2011 2:45 AM
Re: David Henricks

I remember the first time I heard the some use the term "self-deport" and it made me sick then and still does.

"We would be tearing families apart like never before, denying ourselves much-needed workers and hurting the economy to quench the immigrant-bashing thirst of xenophobes, white supremacists and race-baiting politicians." What a shameful place the United States has put herself!!!

Racists like David try to mask their racism by saying they aren't against legal immigrants on the illegal ones, tell me David how do you know the difference? You are nothing more than a bloodthirsty immigrant-bashing racist and I don't know how you and your ilk sleep at night. I'm sure you're answer will be "I sleep fine" and that is more disturbing than your horrible comment.

I'm a Fourth Generation American of Mexican descent and I'm appalled at the treatment I receive from the David types. It happens to often to count when I am out and about in the city where I live for people in some slow spoken language ask me for my papers! This the way ALL Latinos get treated by the rabid xenophobes like David and his racist buddies so no David I don't buy your line about come here legally and we will love you! I believe everyone who came through Ellis Island are illegal immigrants so David if your ancestors came through there please show me your papers.

Also it is true we are a nation of laws so why do we deny ANY PERSON in the jurisdication the protection they are provided under the 14th Amendment in our Constitution?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Cindy Garcia
Sun Jun 5, 2011 8:36 AM
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