Latinos United for Change (L.U.C.), the Latino organizing arm of Illinois People’s Action, has been one of the only grassroots community organizations working on immigration issues in Central Illinois since 2008.
For the past year L.U.C. has been involved in a campaign with the McLean County Sheriff’s department in an effort to stop them from essentially doing the same thing the AZ law does. The McLean County Sheriff’s department has a policy that allows jail personnel to contact immigration enforcement to identify the status of someone that local law enforcement determines to be undocumented.
If immigration enforcement or “ICE” issues a request to detain this person, the detainee will be held an additional 2-5 days beyond that which is required by the local jurisdiction. They are held until ICE comes to pick them up to transport them to a detention center. Residence of McLean County are being detained for an indefinite amount time without ever being convicted of a crime. We at L.U.C. see this as an attack on our civil liberties.
We applaud the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court on Monday June 25, 2012 as this is a strong decision that for the most part rejects Arizona’s overreach. By a 5-3 margin the Supreme Court ruled that much of Arizona’s attempt to take federal law into its own hands is unconstitutional. But it leaves in place one dangerous provision that inevitably will lead to racial profiling and harassment of people based on what they look like and how they speak – even if they are born in America. We fear the implementation of this provision will cause deep harm to the civil rights of many Americans.
That is why we will continue to fight to protect our basic civil rights, to build power and to get out and vote in November. Going forward, we are confident that our team of civil rights litigators will see to it that federal courts strike down the racial profiling provision. We are confident that we will fight – and win – against similar laws in other states. And we are confident that we will win equal treatment under the law and immigration reforms that are workable and humane. We are on the right side of history; victory is a matter of “when” not “if.”