SCORE Joins Opposition to Arizona's Immigration Law


   Voices Support for Hispanics and Others Impacted


   Washington, Friday 14, 2010: The Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) associates itself with concerns expressed by interfaith and civil rights groups about Arizona's recently enacted immigration law. SCORE stands with Hispanics and all other immigrant communities in Arizona who may be subject to the state's divisive and disappointing stance on immigration.

   Under Arizona's new law, police officers may demand papers of anyone who is "reasonably suspected" of being an illegal immigrant. This law is based on the viewpoint that anyone of color or with an accent may be in the United States illegally. It enables the police to act on this stereotype and profile anyone in Arizona who may have a darker skin complexion, appears foreign, or speaks differently. "I firmly and fully agree with the President that this law is misguided," stated Dr. Rajwant Singh, SCORE's Chairman.

   Arizona lawmakers subsequently passed an amendment to the law, requiring that an individual be lawfully stopped before he or she may be asked to produce immigration papers, thus giving the impression that immigrant communities will be protected from police abuses. But this amendment is not a meaningful safeguard. The police may stop individuals for the most trivial and minor infractions as an excuse to demand papers from a minority.

   "The law not only pits immigrants against the police, but creates social distance between immigrant and non-immigrant communities," observed Dawinder S. Sidhu, SCORE's special counsel on legal affairs. The law effectively encourages immigrants to be viewed with suspicion and not as complete, accepted members of the United States.

   Arizona's discriminatory position on immigration may spread to other states. In fact, at least ten other states are considering laws similar to Arizona's, including Maryland. Thousands and thousands of immigrants around the nation may be profiled and harassed as a result. "We must voice our concerns before it is too late and we must show our support for any immigrant group that may be negatively affected," added Dr. Singh.

   SCORE's objection to Arizona's law may be traced to core Sikh principles, in which justice for all is sought, and to Sikh history, in which the Sikh Gurus sacrificed themselves for the fair and equal treatment of non-Sikhs. It also stems from a recognition that this nation was based on and is continually renewed by the hard work and contributions of immigrants.

SCORE calls on individuals, civic leaders, government officials, and like-minded organizations to urge the Arizona legislature to reconsider its approach to immigration. It also invites the federal government to enter this field and explicitly preempt Arizona's laws and any similar state laws which threaten the welfare and equal treatment of all immigrants.

SCORE is also part of a broader interfaith immigration coalition working for the rights of the immigrants in America.


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