Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday challenging Arizona's new immigration law, which makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant and requires police to question anyone whose immigration status appears suspect. Arizona police officer Martin Escobar filed suit [complaint text] in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website], alleging that SB 1070 [materials] is unconstitutional and could hamper police investigations. A second suit was filed by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) [advocacy website], which argues that the legislation is preempted by federal law. Also Thursday, several advocacy groups, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] formally announced their intention to challenge [press release] the bill.
The bill, signed into law [JURIST report] last week by Governor Jan Brewer, has caused intense controversy. Earlier this week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, Spanish] strongly criticized [JURIST report] Arizona's new immigration law, claiming that the measure opens the door to intolerance and hatred. US President Barack Obama has also criticized the law [JURIST report], calling for federal immigration reform. Under the law, it is designated a crime [AP 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.