MEDIA ADVISORY: March for immigrant justice today

 MEDIA ADVISORY: March today opposes racial profiling, targeting of immigrants

Court ruling on Arizona law is "a step in the right direction," say organizers, but much remains to be done

RALEIGH (July 29, 2010) -- Today, concerned North Carolinians will hold a march and rally in downtown Raleigh to protest racial profiling and discrimination against immigrant and minority communities.

The event is part of a national day of action against the enactment of the Arizona law SB 1070, which mandates that all local police and sheriffs demand documents from people they suspect might be in the state without authorization. The marchers will gather at 5 p.m. at Nash Square (the corner of Dawson and Hargett in Raleigh) and walk to the State Capitol for a rally.

The march comes one day after a federal judge struck down many of the law's most objectionable portions, such as requiring legal immigrants to carry papers with them at all times and enabling local law enforcement to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country without permission.

“We're pleased the court recognized how dangerous the Arizona law is, and we think this ruling is a step in the right direction,” said Dani Martinez-Moore of the NC Justice Center. “But misguided anti-immigrant policies still pose a threat to the constitution and public safety, here in North Carolina and across the country.”

SB 1070, or the “Arizona Law,” requires that all law enforcement agencies determine the immigration status of a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present. Under this law, people who look “foreign” can be targeted for minor infractions – having a broken taillight or jaywalking – and then asked for proof of legal status. U.S. citizens and legal residents who “look like” foreigners could be at risk of arrest and deportation if they cannot produce acceptable forms of identification to verify their immigration status.

While North Carolina has not passed similar legislation, racial profiling continues to be a serious concern across our state. Currently in North Carolina, at least 29 county and local law enforcement agencies are participating in either the 287(g) or "Secure Communities" programs, which are partnerships between local law enforcement and ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement).

These programs focus on identifying and apprehending immigrants who may be in the country without authorization, resulting in the arrest and deportation of undocumented people after they have been arrested for minor violations. This has led to the widespread fracturing of families and created a climate of heightened fear in our communities.

The marchers will call on state and federal officials to stop unfair treatment of immigrants and to work for a just immigration policy that includes compassion for those who are trying to overcome poverty and political oppression. Participating groups oppose racial profiling in Arizona, North Carolina and throughout the country.

"From Arizona to North Carolina: March for Immigrant Justice" is being organized by NC ICE Watch in partnership with Black Workers for Justice, the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House, NC DREAM Team, NC Justice Center, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Pueblo Unido, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Student Action with Farmworkers and community leaders.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Dani Martinez-Moore, 919.856.2178, dani@ncjustice.org; Fernando Mejia (English and Spanish), mobile 208-830-0313, 

fernando@ncjustice.org  or Jeff Shaw (English), mobile 503-551-3615,jeff@ncjustice.org