Two Latino advocacy groups say they will challenge the constitutionality of Arizona’s new immigration law, asserting it permits racial profiling. SB 1070 signed into law April 23 by Gov. Jan Brewer, permits police to question the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants. Officials from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the National Coalition of Latino Christian Clergy (CONLAMIC) contend the law will let police single out minorities for immigration inspections. Under the law, it is designated a crime to be in the country illegally and immigrants unable to verify their legal status can be arrested and jailed for six months and fined $2,500.
MALDEF said the law unconstitutionally creates a separate state scheme to enforce immigration violations:
One significant measure of SB 1070’s patent illegality is that it seeks to implement Arizona’s own scheme of immigration regulation–-separate and in conflict with federal government policy–when our Constitution envisions a unified nation under one federal set of immigration regulations to be adopted by Congress and implemented by the President. By rejecting that constitutional plan, Arizona’s enactment of SB 1070 is tantamount to a declaration of secession. In response, the federal government must act to preserve our united nation by clearly stating that it will not cooperate in any way with the implementation of SB 1070–that it will not adjust or alter its immigration enforcement priorities to the detriment of other states simply to accommodate Arizona’s most recent exercise in racial demagoguery.
Brewer says she will instruct the state’s police departments to implement the law without violating civil rights.
After the Arizona House approved the bill, US senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announced their support for the measure and outlined a proposal for additional federal controls on immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border.
From Jurist, April 24. Used with permission.