Valle del Sol v. Whiting et al.: Challenging SB 1070 - Arizona's Racial Profiling Law

(Formerly Friendly House et al. v. Whiting). The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the most hotly disputed part of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, which requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in the U.S. legally. The ACLU, along with a coalition of civil rights organizations, will continue to challenge the Arizona law on other constitutional grounds.

The ACLU will continue to challenge that the Arizona law 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.

Jim Shee, a plaintiff, 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. 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 would be 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.

The Department of Justice also filed a lawsuit challenging S.B. 1070 shortly after the ACLU. In July, 2010, a federal court in Phoenix blocked key provisions of the law from going into effect, including the requirement that law enforcement demand "papers" from people they stop whom they suspect are "unlawfully present." The state then appealed the decision to The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld the lower court's ruling last April.

Know Your Rights: Supreme Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law

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Conozca Sus Derechos: SB1070 Y El Tribunal Supremo

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