News & Media

Faith leaders warn Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's anti-immigrant law will promote racial profiling

PICO National Network

June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Contact: Gordon Whitman, PICO Policy Director, gwhitman@piconetwork.org, 202-427-2992

Faith leaders warn that Supreme Court's SB 1070 decision will promote racial profiling

PICO National Network issued the following statement today:

Washington D.C. — PICO National Network warned that today's Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the worst part of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law would exacerbate racial profiling directed at immigrants and people of color.

Today's ruling by the Supreme Court struck down three of four sections of the law, leaving in place the controversial "show me your papers" section which requires law enforcement to ask for proof of legal status of anyone they suspect is undocumented.

As faith leaders who have witnessed the indiscriminate and unjust treatment of immigrants in our congregations, we fear the "show me your papers" provision will lead to racial profiling that targets people for police intervention based simply on the way they look or speak.

While the Court's ruling on the "show me your papers" provision allowed for future reconsideration, the fact today is that the ruling leaves in place a climate of fear for Arizona residents.

“We are deeply disappointed at news of the Court’s decision to uphold the worst aspect of SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant and anti-family law," said the Rev. John McCaslin, pastor of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Indianapolis and a clergy leader with IndyCAN, a PICO federation.

“This decision puts families and human dignity at risk by tacitly condoning racial profiling of those considered 'different',” he said. “Our families must be free to walk the streets of their neighborhoods without fear of being stopped and questioned."

People of faith in the United States have been serving, advocating, and standing in solidarity with immigrants in their communities since the foundation of this country. We will not be deterred in our quest for justice for all, but instead will seek to hold both local and national policy makers accountable to enacting positive reforms to current immigration policies.

Today's decision makes it even more important that Latino and immigrant communities go to the polls in record numbers this year, so that our elected officials understand that our nation needs immigration reforms that will prioritize family unity, provide a process by which undocumented immigrants can earn their legal status, restore due process and ensure all workers’ rights are respected.

PICO National Network urges lawmakers to promote common sense solutions that work for the good of all people. PICO will continue to organize congregations against anti-immigrant laws on the state and federal level and will work to ensure that the inherent dignity of all people is protected.


PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through a network of 48 member federations and 10 state networks. More information at www.piconetwork.org.

PICO National Network and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation.