ACLU History: Arizona and the Future of Immigrants Rights: An Ambitious Agenda

September 1, 2010
In April 2010, in the most recent manifestation of anti-immigrant sentiment, Arizona passed SB 1070, a law requiring police to demand, 'papers' from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to be in the United States. The ACLU led a coalition of civil rights groups that immediately filed a class action lawsuit charging that the 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. Denying the essential safeguards of due process is tempting for the government and may be superficially reassuring to the public; but the test of today's policies is not the public sentiment of the moment, it is the judgment of history in the years to come. The ACLU's agenda for immigrant's rights is ambitious. Its past successes have proven that forceful advocacy and legal challenges are essential to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants.


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