How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Posts of the week: Dissecting the SB 1070 decision, more

Photo by S.E.B./Flickr (Creative Commons)

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

And what a week it's been. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two of its most anticipated rulings of the year, Monday on Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law and Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.

On my particular beat, anticipation had been building over the SB 1070 decision since the high court agreed to take Arizona's appeal late last year, inching higher in the last couple of weeks each time the court issued opinions, but not one on Arizona v. United States.

It's no wonder that after it all wound down this week, I came down with a nasty bug. Which will make for a short list of highlights this week, but no matter. I'm including some bonus links to a few pieces on what the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means for immigrants.

Without further ado, some highlights from the week.

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How S. 1670 defines racial profiling, and why it's complicated

Photo by No Borders and Binaries/Flickr (Creative Commons)


During what's been billed as a landmark Senate hearing tomorrow, lawmakers will address racial profiling in different forms, from the profiling of Latinos under state anti-illegal immigration laws to the police profiling of black men, as well as the racial profiling that has affected Muslims, Arab Americans and others in the U.S. during a decade of counter-terrorism activity since 9/11.

A highlight of the hearing will be a bill called the End Racial Profiling Act, which has come and gone since 2001 without passage and was most recently reintroduced last year. Its principal aim is to curb profiling by law enforcement, establishing a definition for what racial profiling is, prohibiting it, and establishing a set of policies and checks and balances to prevent it.

From the bill, also known as S. 1670, the definition:

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'We are not the terrorists. You are.' (Video)

Whatever you think of television news interviews with crime victims, this interview with the 17-year-old daughter of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi immigrant beaten to death in a possible hate crime in El Cajon, near San Diego, is so powerful that is is difficult to watch at times.

Fatima Alhimidi, who found her mother's severely beaten body in her home last week, spoke to the local station KUSI a few days ago while her mother clung to life in a San Diego hospital. She defiantly addresses a hateful note that she found next to her mother:

"I found her on the floor drowned in her own blood, with a letter next to her hear saying 'go back to your country, you terrorist.' We are not the terrorists. You are. Whoever did it. We don't know what color you are, but we do know one thing. You are not Christian, you are not Muslim, and you are not Jewish. You are someone without a religion, because if you know God, you would know God would not accept that."

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Readers sound off on racial-ethnic profiling

Photo by Jeffrey Beall/Flickr (Creative COmmons)


A post from Friday that featured five American Muslims discussing racial-ethnic profiling in light of the New York Police Department's Muslim profiling case, a report on FBI profiling and other recent news drew a long string of comments over the weekend, and the discussion among readers continues on the site.

The reactions have been surprisingly civil, considering. Some readers believe that law enforcement officials are within their rights to target specific ethnic communities for surveillance, while others hold firm that this kind of law enforcement action is an infringement on the civil rights of law-abiding Americans. Here's a taste of the discussion that's been taking place:

The first comment this weekend came from Jason Van Bemmel, who wrote:

How do we expect anti-terror law enforcement to protect us from future terrorist attacks if they do not monitor communities most likely to have terrorists in them?  The terrorists who have attacked us and who have plotted to attack us are Muslims.  That doesn't mean that all Muslims are terrorists or even that most Muslims harbor or sympathize with terrorists.  However, if you're looking for Islamic terrorists, the place to watch is Islamic communities.  That's really just common sense and good police strategy.  We cannot realistically expect them to do otherwise.

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Five American Muslims on racial-ethnic profiling: 'This is my country. I feel insulted.'

Photo by Jeffrey Beall/Flickr (Creative COmmons)


Over the past several weeks, a growing number of law enforcement documents have surfaced pointing to the institutional profiling of Muslims in the decade after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. First, an Associated Press investigation revealed a large-scale New York Police Department effort to collect intelligence on Muslims in the New York area, with police conducted surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods, mosques and businesses, even checking out immigrants who changed their names to sound more American.

Also controversial has been the use of counterterrorism training materials by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, under fire for using materials portraying Muslims in a negative light. And late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report alleging that the FBI targeted specific ethnic communities across the United States based on race, ethnicity, religion and nationality for potential criminal investigation.

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