Congressman Jose Serrano released a statement on Friday criticizing a new immigration law in Arizona which gives the authorities increased powers to identify, prosecute, and deport illegal immigrants.
It is a sad day when any state makes racial profiling and discrimination the law. This is a deeply flawed measure that singles out a specific group for harassment.
Our nation has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants, but today the government of Arizona turned their back on that tradition in favor of anti-immigrant grandstanding.
We all know that the only way to bring immigrants out of the shadows is to enact comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Laws like this give greater urgency to our work to pass a humane, non-punitive comprehensive immigration reform package. The time has come for action, before this law becomes a model for other anti-immigrant activists and is replicated elsewhere.
State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. also released a statement condemning the legislation. He said:
While we deplore this blatant attempt to legitimize the police when they stop and interrogate the Hispanic population of Arizona, we are hopeful that passage of this bill should finally motivate the members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to pass a humane and comprehensive, nationwide policy in regard to immigration.
It is unfair and inappropriate for anyone to blur the lines and equate immigration with terrorism. Our nation's long and rich tradition of welcoming newcomers must not be a thing of the past.
Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., meanwhile, has slammed Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Levy for not immediately opposing the law. (Levy, the Suffolk County executive, has a reputation for being tough on illegal immigration.) In a statement, Diaz said:
It sounds like Steve Levy hasn't changed that much after all. That Steve Levy even entertains supporting such a perverse and un-American policy should serve as a wake up call to the immigrant community, and in fact to all New Yorkers, that Steve Levy falls far outside the mainstream on one of the most critical issues facing our state and nation. Steve Levy needs to make absolutely clear where he stands on the Arizona law and whether or not he would pursue a similar policy in New York if he were elected governor. In New York, where we take pride in welcoming immigrants from across the globe and celebrate our diversity, there can be no room for ambiguity.
UPDATE 1 P.M. TUESDAY: Eric Schneiderman, the state senator who's running for attorney general, also released a statement. He said:
Arizona's new law giving local police the power to profile and arrest people who cannot prove their immigration status on demand is as radical as it is irresponsible. This is a wake up call for the federal government to deliver comprehensive immigration reform that will undo this moral, economic and law enforcement disaster, and prevent another state from following Arizona’s lead. There is no reason we cannot secure our borders and protect the civil rights of everyone living in this country.