News And Politics

SB 1070 ruling: The southside responds

June 25, 2012, 4:20 p.m.

Brian Ramos, a Los Angeles native, believes that the Supreme Court did the right thing in upholding the "show me your papers" clause of Arizona's controversial immigration law SB 1070. (Michael Katz/OnCentral)


In "OnCentral on Foot," we approach people at random in the streets of South L.A. and ask them their thoughts on the world and community in which they live. This time, we asked them about the Supreme Court’s decision on SB 1070, which struck down most of the law, except one portion – the “show me your papers” clause. The decision, which was announced Monday morning , said it is constitutional to authorize local law enforcement to check the immigration status of people they encounter in a lawful stop, arrest or detention if there is "reasonable suspicion" that she or he is in the country illegally.

Noureddine Zewmouria, Algeria

What are your thoughts on immigration in general in the United States?
I think that the United States was “the land of immigration” 20 years ago. And now we are starting to look at this differently, so we are trying to put laws which may [break down] immigration. I believe that the United States has always been the land for many peoples, immigrants. And it’s unfortunate that we got to this situation.

Do you think that it’s reasonable or fair to pull people over because police officers might think that they’re undocumented?
This is why the United States is different from Europe. In Europe, there is legislation that is harsh on immigrants. And here, in the United States, there is more freedom. It’s unfortunate, that the U.S. adopted this kind of philosophy.

Having been in California for a little bit, how do you think the law would affect this population?
There is a large population of immigrants here in California. A lot of people are living here without having papers. So I think that it will increase the crisis here and people will be segregated and this could unfortunately lead to problems.

Brian Ramos, Los Angeles

With this ruling today, the Supreme Court upheld the idea that law enforcement can pull someone over on suspicion of their being undocumented. Do you think that’s fair?
I actually do. I approve of it. There’s a lot of negativity around this area, and I’m against violence and gang members and everything and I actually think it’s a good idea. And I’m Latino myself.

Do you think it’s going to lead to a lot of stereotyping?
Stereotyping? Yes, it is, I believe so.

Being Latino yourself, does that worry you at all?
No. If they come over, I got nothing to hide.

The Supreme Court did overturn a provision of the law that made it illegal for immigrants without papers to work in the country. What are your thoughts on illegal immigration in general and undocumented immigrants' rights to get jobs?
Mainly, I’m not a fan of people crossing over here because the U.S. is already overpopulated, and there’s way too many people in this world, and to be honest, most people that come here are like, gang members or something like that. But I do like a few. But most of them are bad people, and that’s coming from a Latino myself. So, I’m with it I guess.

So if it a provision like this the one from SB 1070 that was upheld by the court came to California, do you think it would be OK?
Yeah, I do. The streets would be a lot safer.

Alex Villobos, Los Angeles

What are your reactions to the Supreme Court's upholding the one provision it did?
Well, I agree that we have to follow the law in this country, because we have to walk the line. Especially when we are Latino. We have more pressure to do our best, because nobody sees us as good people. But something in the law is missing. You don’t have to be too hard. So, we can do the thing better, not this way, but try to push to follow the law.

What would be a better way to enforce immigration?
I don’t know. It’s hard to say something about it. In my opinion, we have to have something for everyone. Not just for one kind of people, Latinos. If they enforce the law they have to do for everybody, not just the Latino people.

Since it happened in Arizona, there’s a chance that the ruling could set a precedent, at least for this one provision that was upheld. How do you think that would affect the population out here? Would it lead to more stereotyping?
The thing is, the people in Arizona, they have to go somewhere. Most of the immigrants come here to California. That’s bad for us because the economy is bad, and many people have lost their jobs. We are going to have more people than California can support. And that’s a big problem. And not just for California. This is for the country.

Tanya Valenzuela, Lynwood

What are your thoughts on the ruling?
I don’t think it’s fair because the immigrants, they’re the ones that work more, and I’ve seen on TV how everyone’s scared and they’re going different places, or they’re going back to Mexico. They’re just going to lose income. People are just going to see the consequences, see that they don’t have people to do their lawns or maids. Because, how are they going to have maids if [undocumented immigrants] can’t work there?

Do you think the ruling going to lead to more stereotyping just because someone is Latino?
Well, hopefully not here. But over there, I think it is. I think it’s just going to be chaos. Because I think the people that are left over there – if they get stopped, are they just going to deport them? They’re just going to end up leaving, which is going to cause [chaos].

What are your general thoughts on illegal immigration in California?
Hopefully, the state passes better laws than what was passed in Arizona. More reasonable laws that allow people that are working and are putting in effort to stay here.

Rodney O’Keith, Westlake (pictured above at center)

What are your thoughts on today’s ruling?
I think it would be profiling. It’s like if they think you are an immigrant, [they have] the right to pull you over and search you. I don’t think it’s right. That’s my opinion.

If a provision like that were to be implemented here in California, how do you think people would react?
Well, since this is a Spanish [area] – we're in Los Angeles, so I think it’d be devastating to a lot of communities.

What are your thoughts on illegal immigration in general?
It’s OK. [Opponents have] made it a problem now because of economics, I believe. They claim that they don’t have money for this and that, and by coming over here now, immigrants have exhausted the funds as far as medical [aid].

Do you think it’s wrong that to seek out undocumented immigrants, or is it wrong the way the legislation goes about doing so?
It’s wrong the way they’re doing it.

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