UN rights experts say Arizona immigration law may violate international standards

[JURIST] A group of UN human rights experts said Monday that Arizona's new immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive] 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 [official website] Jorge Bustamante [official profile], 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
Arizona's immigration law makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant and requires police to question anyone whose immigration status appears suspect.

Since being passed, the Arizona law has been challenged by various groups on constitutional grounds. Arizona police officer Martin Escobar filed suit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] alleging that the law is unconstitutional and could hamper police investigations. A second suit was filed by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) [official website], which argued that the law was preempted by federal law. Other groups, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) [official website], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] have also said that they will challenge [press release] the bill.

 

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