WILMER VALDERRAMA SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SB 1070 AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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Wilmer Valderrama, the actor best known for the television shows “Awake” and “That 70s Show“, spoke to a crowded room at Arizona State University on Tuesday in the midst of the state’s battle with the Supreme Court over SB 1070. Speaking about the importance of the Latino vote in this upcoming election, Valderrama expressed a pro-immigration stance and called for increased Latino involvement in politics.

“The only way the system can work is if we all get involved,” Valderrama said. “Don’t expect politicians to figure it out for you.”

The event was sponsored by the ‘Voto Latino’ campaign, an effort aimed at increasing the presence of young Latino voters in the next election. Victor Corral, a volunteer with the organization, helped collect new voter registration forms and was excited to hear from the actor. “The Latino voice needs to be heard,” Corral said. “He makes a big difference in doing that.”

UCF in Orlando photo from Wilmer Valderrama’s FB

“If we don’t tell our friends to vote, who will?” he said.

Born in Miami, Valderrama moved back and forth between Venezuela and the United States, during his youth. Coming from an immigrant background himself, he expressed strong feelings against SB1070, a controversial immigration law in Arizona. Valderrama wants more young people and young Latinos to engage in the voting process. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on it. 

“It’s sad,” he said. “Immigration is the reason we have a country in the first place.”

Valderrama holds the belief that both legal and unauthorized immigrants contribute a lot to the United States economy; citing boosts in unclaimed tax revenue and labor for hard-to-fill jobs. He wants people to stop having what he refers to as a ‘negative mental image’ when they hear the word ‘immigration’.

Read more: Fox News Latino

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WHAT DID SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR SAY ABOUT SB 1070?

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“You are involving the federal government in your prosecution,” the justice said, according to the hearing’s transcript, drawing attention to one class of non-citizens who may not appear in available databases of documented residents.”

(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice took a lead role in criticizing oral arguments over Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The liberal Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court appointee, was most widely quoted for her stinging criticism of the government’s argument that Arizona’s law preempts federal authority over immigration. But her lines of questioning and criticism of Arizona’s rebuttal also indicated skepticism about the most contentious provisions of the state law.

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The questions Sotomayor posed to Paul Clement, the attorney representing Arizona, hinged on what would happen to people detained under SB 1070, as the law is known, who did not readily appear in databases. She noted that some people, like political asylum applicants, may not be registered with the federal government because the process requires them to keep their status private.

AP

“What’s going to happen now is that if there is no statement by the federal agency of legality, the person is arrested, and now we’re going to have federal resources spent on trying to figure out whether they have that, whether they are exempted for this reason, whether the failure to carry was accidental or not,” Sotomayor said. Sotomayor was the only justice to pose questions during Clement’s rebuttal.

AP

The Latina justice also jumped in with the first line of questioning, parsing out how detention processes under suspended provisions of the Arizona law would differ from current practice, and she posed questions highlighting the limitations of current federal databases to check people’s immigration status efficiently after being stopped.

photo Diane Ovalle / Puente Arizona

There is no federal database of authorized residents, only a passport registry, according to U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who is arguing on behalf of the Obama administration. The federal government also checks reports of undocumented immigrants against another eight to10 federal databases, Verrilli said. Hypothetically, then, under the Arizona law a person stopped for an offense and held on suspicion of unlawful residence could wind up in custody for long periods of time, Sotomayor posited. While Sotomayor’s line of questioning indicated skepticism of parts of Arizona’s case, it was her biting criticism of Verrilli’s argument that Arizona’s enforcement of immigration undermined federal authority that caught the most attention.

photo by Diane Ovalle / Puente Arizona

“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Sotomayor said, commenting on a series of both tough questions and outright assertions made by the country’s highest court, where conservatives hold a majority.

Justice Antonin Scalia. Image from Legal Geekery

“Arizona is not trying to kick out anybody that the federal government has not already said do not belong here,” said Justice Antonin Scalia.

Chief Justice Roberts SOURCE: AP/Evan Vucci

The most forceful argument in favor of the controversial immigration law’s provision requiring police to check the immigration status of those they stop came from Chief Justice Roberts.

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“It is still your decision,” Roberts told Verrilli. “And if you don’t want to know who is in this country illegally, you don’t have to.”

Read more: FOX NEWS LATINO

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UTAH GOVERNOR SIGNED PACKAGE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM BILLS

 

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On March 15, 2011, Utah Governor Gary Herbertsigned into law a group of bills that reformed the state’s immigration laws that challenged the federal government to take national action. One of the bills required police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor. The bill was similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 that has been the subject of national debate and federal litigation. The other bills included the implementation of a guest worker program and an initiative that allows American companies and individuals to sponsor foreigners who wish to work or study in the US. The Utah reforms have been challenged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the US District Court for the District of Utah, but the court has decided to delay any rulings until the Supreme Court rules on Arizona’s controversial immigration laws.

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