Advocacy groups to challenge Arizona immigration law

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.

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Arizona.

  1. AZ bill neeeeeded here!
    What??? AZ does a crackdown of their illegals? What about us, what about CA? I’m here in Los Angeles and these losers politicians watch our city decompose with more signs in spanish and illegals everywhere! we NEEEEED this bill right here ASAP!

    1. Signs in Spanish!?
      Heavens to Mugatroid, what next!? Demand your right to be a dumb monolingual American!

      And how would you like it if I called you an “illegal”? Ever smoke a joint? Cheat on your taxes? Jaywalk? You’re an illegal!

    2. “The right of the people…
      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
      If you can’t figure out you’re next, you need your head examined.

  2. UN rights experts: Arizona law may violate international norms
    A group of UN human rights experts said May 10 that Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, could violate international standards [press release] that are binding on the US. The group of six UN experts, which includes UN Special Rapporteur on human rights of migrants Jorge Bustamante, said the Arizona law might encourage discrimination:

    A disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants has been established with the adoption of an immigration law that may allow for police action targeting individuals on the basis of their perceived ethnic origin, and a law that suppresses school programs featuring the histories and cultures of ethnic minorities. … The law may lead to detaining and subjecting to interrogation persons primarily on the basis of their perceived ethnic characteristics. In Arizona, persons who appear to be of Mexican, Latin American, or indigenous origin are especially at risk of being targeted under the law.

    Since being passed, the Arizona law has been challenged by various groups on constitutional grounds. Arizona police officer Martin Escobar filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Arizona alleging that the law is unconstitutional and could hamper police investigations. (Jurist, May 11)

  3. Arizona does it again
    From CNN, May 12:

    Fresh on the heels of a new immigration law that has led to calls to boycott her state, Arizona’s governor has signed a bill banning ethnic studies classes that “promote resentment” of other racial groups.

    Gov. Jan Brewer approved the measure without public statement Tuesday, according to state legislative records. The new law forbids elementary or secondary schools to teach classes that are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” and advocate “the overthrow of the United States government” or “resentment toward a race or class of people.”

    The bill was pushed by state school Superintendent Tom Horne, who has spent two years trying to get Tucson schools to drop a Mexican-American studies program he said teaches Latino students they are an oppressed minority. There was no immediate response from the Tucson Unified School District, the law’s main target.