Progressive States Network: Supreme Court Decision on SB 1070 a "Strong Warning" to States Considering Following Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Path


Monday, June 25, 2012
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, Progressive States Network,

Progressive States Network: Supreme Court Decision on SB 1070 a “Strong Warning” to States Considering Following Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Path


New York, NY – Today, the Supreme Court voted in a 5-3 decision to strike down three provisions of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant SB 1070, while narrowly upholding a fourth part of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect may be undocumented. The decision sends a strong warning to states still considering similar anti-immigrant measures. Progressive States Network’s Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Suman Raghunathan, issued the following statement following today’s ruling:

Today, the Supreme Court issued a strong decision that limits the overreach of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 by striking down three key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, while leaving in place a troubling piece of the law that welcomes racial profiling. While we join with many responsible state lawmakers across the nation in expressing our disappointment that the Supreme Court upheld the law’s racial profiling provision, we know it isn’t over in the courts. Today’s majority opinion from Justice Kennedy highlights that this provision remains on shaky legal ground, and we remain convinced that it will eventually be struck down as well. Today’s narrow and limited decision should serve as a strong warning to other states still considering following Arizona’s divisive and economically destructive anti-immigrant path.

Law enforcement depends on building trust in communities. When state and local criminal justice systems, with their limited budgets, are burdened with the time and cost-intensive process of apprehending, detaining, and deporting undocumented immigrants, we all become less safe. This type of approach is clearly misguided. Today, the Supreme Court ruled that it is also largely unconstitutional, striking down three of the four provisions of SB 1070 being challenged and ruling that Arizona cannot make it a crime for immigrants to fail to carry identification or to apply for a job, and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that he or she is undocumented. In upholding SB 1070’s fourth provision – the racial profiling provision – by the thinnest of threads, the Court not only made it clear that Arizona's approach is fatally flawed, but also opened the door even further to state-level challenges that may eventually result in SB 1070 being struck down its entirety.

Today’s decision should serve as one more clear indication to other states that it makes no sense to pursue constitutionally dubious policies like Arizona’s that aim to “crack down” on immigrant communities while costing states and communities dearly. It also reaffirms the importance of and need for common-sense state immigration policies that expand opportunity for all residents, immigrant and native-born alike, and welcome the economic contributions and hard work of immigrants. Those are the types of forward-looking and practical policies being advanced by an ever-expanding number of state legislators across the nation, whose efforts only stand to gain momentum as Arizona’s approach continues to be discredited.

(Note: Progressive States Network’s Suman Raghunathan and leading state legislators from across the nation are available for comment on this story. Contact Charles Monaco at



State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy is a diverse group of state legislators, affiliated with Progressive States Network, who are advancing sensible and progressive approaches to immigration at the state level. These leaders, currently representing 38 states, are rejecting alarmist approaches to immigration in favor of one that reflects our core values as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants.

Progressive States Network ( is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on the issues that matter to working families: integrating immigrants into our communities, strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.