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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

RIGHTS GROUPS FILE CLASS ACTION CHALLENGING ARIZONA LAW

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Here's the news release from the ACLU:



The
American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a
class action lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Arizona challenging Arizona's new law requiring police to demand
"papers" from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to
be in the U.S. The extreme law, the coalition charged, invites the racial
profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with
federal law.



The coalition filing the lawsuit includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National
Immigration Law Center (NILC), the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing
Network (NDLON) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) - a member
of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.



"Arizona's law is quintessentially un-American: we are not a 'show me your
papers' country, nor one that believes in subjecting people to harassment,
investigation and arrest simply because others may perceive them as
foreign," said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants'
Rights Project. "This law violates the Constitution and interferes with
federal law, and we are confident that we will prevent it from ever taking
effect."



The lawsuit charges that the Arizona law unlawfully interferes with federal
power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy
Clause of the U.S. Constitution; invites racial profiling against people of
color by law enforcement in violation of the equal protection guarantee and
prohibition on unreasonable seizures under the 14th and Fourth Amendments; and
infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers and others in Arizona.



"This discriminatory law pushes Arizona into a spiral of fear, increased
crime and costly litigation," said Victor Viramontes, MALDEF Senior
National Counsel. "We expect that this misguided law will be enjoined
before it takes effect."



One of the individuals the coalition is representing in the case, Jim Shee, is
a U.S.-born 70-year-old American citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent. Shee
asserts that he will be vulnerable to racial profiling under the law, and that,
although the law has not yet gone into effect, he has already been stopped
twice by local law enforcement officers in Arizona and asked to produce his
"papers."



Another plaintiff, Jesus Cuauhtémoc Villa, is a resident of the state of New
Mexico who is currently attending Arizona State University. The state of New
Mexico does not require proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status to
obtain a driver's license. Villa does not have a U.S. passport and does not
want to risk losing his birth certificate by carrying it with him. He worries
about traveling in Arizona without a valid form of identification that would
prove his citizenship to police if he is pulled over. If he cannot supply proof
upon demand, Arizona law enforcement is required to arrest and detain him.



Several prominent law enforcement groups, including the Arizona Association of
Chiefs of Police, oppose the law because it diverts limited resources from law
enforcement's primary responsibility of providing protection and promoting
public safety in the community and undermines trust and cooperation between
local police and immigrant communities.



"This ill-conceived law sends a clear message to communities of color that
the authorities are not to be trusted, making them less likely to come forward
as victims of or witnesses to crime," said Linton Joaquin, General Counsel
of NILC. "Arizona's authorities should not allow public safety to take a
back seat to racial profiling."



"African-Americans know all too well the insidious effects of racial
profiling," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and Chief Executive
Officer of the NAACP. "The government should be preventing police from
investigating and detaining people based on color and accent, not mandating it.
Laws that encourage discrimination have no place in this country anywhere for
anyone."



"This extreme law puts Arizona completely out of step with American values
of fairness and equality," said Julie Su, Litigation Director of the
APALC. "In a state where U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned
during World War II, it is deeply troubling that a law that would mandate
lower-class treatment of people of color, immigrants and others seen to be
outsiders would pass in 2010."



The lawsuit was filed on behalf of labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human
services and social justice organizations, including Friendly House, Service
Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU Local 5, United Food and Commercial
Workers International (UFCW), Arizona South Asians for Safe Families (ASAFSF),
Southside Presbyterian Church, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian
Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, Border Action Network, Tonatierra Community
Development Institute, Muslim American Society, Japanese American Citizens
League, Valle del Sol, Inc., Coalicíon De Derechos Humanos, and individual
named plaintiffs who will be subject to harassment or arrest under the law and
a class of similarly situated persons.



"Day laborers have repeatedly defended their First Amendment rights in
federal courts and successfully established their undeniable right to seek work
in public areas," said Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON.
"Arizona's effort to criminalize day laborers and migrants is an affront
to the Constitution and threatens to disrupt national unity, and we are
confident that federal courts will intervene to ensure the protection of our
bedrock civil rights."



Even prior to the passage of the statute, local enforcement of federal
immigration law has already caused rampant racial profiling of Latinos in
Arizona, most notably in Maricopa County. The ACLU, MALDEF and other members of
the coalition have several pending lawsuits against government officials in
Arizona because of civil rights abuses of U.S. citizens and immigrants.



Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et
al.
, include:
>>

  • ACLU
    Immigrants' Rights Project:

    Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P.
    Raghupathi;
    >>

  • MALDEF: Viramontes, Tom Saenz, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Nina
    Perales, Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, Gladys Limón and Nicholás Espiritu;
    >>

  • NILC: Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S.
    Keaney, Vivek Mittal and Ghazal Tajmiri;
    >>

  • ACLU
    Foundation of Arizona:
    Dan
    Pochoda and Annie Lai;
    >>

  • APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina
    Ocampo;
    >>

  • NDLON: Chris Newman and Lisa Kung; >>

  • NAACP: Laura Blackburne;>>

  • Munger
    Tolles & Olson LLP:

    Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Elizabeth J. Neubauer,Joseph J.
    Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd and Yuval Miller; and
    >>

  • Roush,
    Mccracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.
    >>


The
complaint can be found at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights-racial-justice/friendly-house-et-al-v-whiting-complaint



More information about the Arizona law, including an ACLU video and slide show,
can be found at: www.aclu.org/what-happens-arizona-stops-arizona
>>







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Comments

  1. Rolrblade's Avatar
    Way to go! It is nice to see that there are people in Arizona who will stand up for their fundamental rights, despite the efforts of the governor. I would like to see if the police department has the guts to stop the governors car and ask for her papers when she is traveling! Does she carry her passport or birth certificate with her always ? Or maybe .... they wont stop her cause she does not look "out of the ordinary" !.
  2. My 2 cents's Avatar
    Jan Brewer is white so no issue, imagine if Bobby Jindal was driving through AZ he would surely be pulled over & asked papers.
  3. My 2 cents's Avatar
    A lot of big wigs!!! Should be fun.
  4. Jack's Avatar
    The video:

    Walking up to someone on the street and saying "Show me your papers" is not allowed under the new law.


    "Language inserted in the bill supposedly to prevent racial profiling is purely cosmetic. It won't prevent the police from asking people for their papers based on race and the way they look."

    The cynical premise is that law enforcers = law breakers and it gets you nowhere. It's saying whatever the law requires, it doesn't matter because law enforcers don't follow the law anyway. The absurd implication is why bother having any law at all (not just immigration related)? The other extreme is blindly trusting authority. Here's the sensible middle ground and how it should be done in a system based on rule of law: train them to enforce the law correctly then "police the police" if they don't. Nothing can prevent the police from doing anything--but if you have consequences if they do what the law says they shouldn't, it will be in their interest to follow the law. It's unnecessary and unwise to embrace anarchy as the only alternative. Don't blindly trust enforcers of law but if you assume they're inherently incapable of following the law there is no place to go with that premise.


    "On what other basis would a police officer suspect that someone is not lawfully present in the United States?"

    Check the case law. Or are they implying that all of the other court approved legal bases are also illegitimate? If procedure is really your concern, why the obsession with Arizona rather than ICE (which has more leeway)? Is it because if every state used its law enforcement to enforce immigration law that would multiply the amount of ICE's manpower by over 100?

    P.S.

    If the organizations behind this lawsuit are so concerned that law enforcement officer discretion will be abused, there are other ways to enforce immigration law that take judgment calls out of the equation. Since these organizations are against those methods too, maybe it's just immigration law itself they don't like (for various reasons not having to do with civil rights).
  5. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Walking up to someone on the street and saying "Show me your papers" is not allowed under the new law."

    Yeah but they can if the have " legal contact" which means just about any contact with the police. It is c lear that only certain people will be asked for their paper when contact occurs.

    "The cynical premise is that law enforcers = law breakers and it gets you nowhere. It's saying whatever the law requires, it doesn't matter because law enforcers don't follow the law anyway"

    Hardly about that it is more about having real solution for a real problem and not hide technically under the law to enforce a bad law and a bad solution. Take the example of prohibition in the 30's or the current war on drugs, the prohibition laws only caused violence and were not solving the problem, yet the law was being enforced back then....

    " Here's the sensible middle ground and how it should be done in a system based on rule of law: train them to enforce the law correctly then "police the police" if they don't. Nothing can prevent the police from doing anything--but if you have consequences if they do what the law says they shouldn't, it will be in their interest to follow the law."

    That is exactly what MOST police chiefs are complaining about, they do not want to become ICE agents, they want to serve their communities as intended and leave immigration enforcement for the federal government to handle. It does not have to be either Anarchy or enforce the law, life does not work in absolutes... The enforcement only approach for the past 10 years has done nothing to slow down the rate of migration to the US, like prohibition is time for a different approach.

    "Check the case law. Or are they implying that all of the other court approved legal bases are also illegitimate? If procedure is really your concern, why the obsession with Arizona rather than ICE (which has more leeway)? Is it because if every state used its law enforcement to enforce immigration law that would multiply the amount of ICE's manpower by over 100"

    Nooo this goes to the presumption of innocence, motive and clearly racial profiling... while they may turn every law enforcement officer into an ICE agent and the whole place into a police state. Clearly that is not what America is all about, is only the America that the enforcement only folks and the deport them all back and restrictionist want and you off-course Jack!!!
    "If the organizations behind this lawsuit are so concerned that law enforcement officer discretion will be abused, there are other ways to enforce immigration law that take judgment calls out of the equation. Since these organizations are against those methods too, maybe it's just immigration law itself they don't like (for various reasons not having to do with civil rights)."

    These organizations are concerned with the discretion the AZ law gives to the police per the way this law is written. Again there you go thinking in absolutes only, it is all Black and White for you... this law suit is precisely in order to preserve the civil rights of all people under the law. We do not have to choose between a Police State or Anarchy Jack there are other choices...Such as not to pass a law for pure political posturing that people know is wrong and does not address nor resolve the problem correctly and people should not be stuck with a bad law just to apiece some republican nativists...
  6. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Jack, you obviously have not watched the series on the police women of Manicopa county. It is shown very clearly that these officers when they get bored go an stop older vans for no apparent reason whatsoever. If they see Hispanic passengers in the van, they start asking everyone their ID, yes, even the passengers. Obviously, what you think will not happen under this law is already happenning on the streets of Arizona. The point of the law is to justify what's already happenning.
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