WASHINGTON (Nov. 30, 2011) — The Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, applauds the Obama Administration for recently taking two positive steps towards protecting the rights and well-being of immigrants.
Last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Utah’s immigration law HB 496, which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 law. DOJ previously sued Arizona challenging SB 1070 and recently brought similar suits against copycat laws in Alabama and South Carolina. SB 1070-type laws aim to criminalize undocumented immigrants and impermissibly authorizes local police to enforce federal immigration laws, which frequently leads to racial and ethnic profiling of all immigrants or persons who appear foreign.
“We commend DOJ for bringing suit against Utah and for continuing to send a strong message to all states that immigration law is strictly a matter for the federal government,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. “We applaud DOJ for also challenging similar laws in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama to prevent states from creating a patchwork of extremely punitive state laws undermining the civil and human rights of immigrant communities.”
In the aftermath of implementation of part of Alabama’s copycat law HB 56, DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, along with colleagues at other federal agencies, has taken a strong lead in monitoring potential civil rights violations in Alabama. AAJC applauds DOJ for using its powers to vigorously protect the civil rights of all persons in Alabama.
On Nov. 17, following earlier guidance issued concerning the use of prosecutorial discretion in enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) set forth a memorandum, instructing all ICE attorneys to begin a systematic review of incoming and certain pending immigration cases to ensure that deportation is consistent with the Administration’s stated enforcement priorities. ICE also issued guidance that highlights the criteria for the case-by-case review in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
“The guidelines are essential in ensuring that the deportation review will be implemented fairly and consistently,” added Narasaki.
The Asian American Justice Center (www.advancingequality.org), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (www.advancingjustice.org), works closely with its sister organizations – the Asian American Institute in Chicago (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) in Los Angeles – to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.