Advocacy groups to challenge Arizona immigration law as unconstitutional

[JURIST] Two Latino advocacy groups say they plan to challenge the constitutionality of Arizona's new immigration law, alleging it permits racial profiling. SB 1070 [text, PDF], signed into law [JURIST report] Friday by Governor Jan Brewer, permits police to question the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants. Officials from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) [advocacy website; press release] and the National Coalition of Latino Christian Clergy [advocacy website] contend the law will let police single out minorities for immigration inspections. Under the law, it is designated a crime [AP report; JURIST report] to be in the country illegally, and immigrants unable to verify their legal status could be arrested and jailed for six months and fined $2,500. MALDEF said the law 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 [text of speech] the state's police departments to implement the law without violating civil rights.

The Arizona law is one of the strictest [JURIST report] illegal immigration laws in the nation. Proponents of the bill claim [Reuters report] the new law will decrease illegal immigration from Mexico. After the Arizona House approved the bill, US senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) [official profiles] announced their support for the measure and outlined [press release] a proposal for additional federal controls on illegal immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border. In 2008, Arizona voters narrowly defeated [JURIST report] a ballot measure that would have revoked the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

 

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