Appellate Court Upholds Decision Blocking Arizona’s Extreme Racial Profiling Law

April 11, 2011 4:52 pm

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Other States Considering S.B. 1070 “Copycats” Should Heed The Court’s Ruling, Says Civil Rights Coalition

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PHOENIX – In a major victory for civil rights and civil liberties, a federal appellate court today affirmed the Arizona district court decision to block the most troubling provisions of the state’s racial profiling law, S.B. 1070. After Arizona’s law was passed last April, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state alleging that S.B. 1070 violated the Supremacy Clause on the grounds that it was preempted by federal law. Along with its complaint, the DOJ filed a motion to block implementation of S.B. 1070 until a final decision was made about the law’s constitutionality. In filing the lawsuit, the federal government sent a clear message that it would not tolerate state laws that invite racial stereotyping and profiling and interfere with federal immigration priorities and policies.

The lawsuit brought by the DOJ followed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups challenging the constitutionality of the law. S.B. 1070 requires police to demand “papers” from people they stop who they suspect are “unlawfully present” in the U.S. According to the coalition, the law would subject massive numbers of people – both citizens and non-citizens – to racial profiling, improper investigations and detention. The coalition’s lawsuit charged the extreme law invited the racial profiling of people of color, violated the First Amendment and interfered with federal law.

The civil rights coalition today urged other states considering S.B. 1070 “copycat” laws to heed today’s court ruling and refrain from doing so.

The following quotes can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.

Omar Jadwat, Staff Attorney, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project:

“Today’s decision rightly rejects SB 1070’s assault on the core American values of fairness and equality. Legislators in other states should pay close attention to today’s ringing condemnation of Arizona’s racial profiling law and refrain from going down the same unconstitutional path.“

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF:

“The Ninth Circuit decision stands as a strong warning to any state that is still considering enacting its own unconstitutional regulation of immigration by replicating or expanding upon Arizona’s ill-fated S.B. 1070. Such legislation will only invite costly litigation that will inevitably result in the unconstitutional laws being struck down.”

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s decision sends a strong message to Arizona and any other state that is trying to overstep its boundaries by denying the most treasured constitutional rights through anti-immigrant laws. Other states that want to walk down Arizona’s misguided and costly footsteps should take note: state immigration legislation is unconstitutional, as the Court of Appeals now has resoundingly confirmed.”

Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director, ACLU of Arizona:

“As a legal and policy matter, S.B.1070 is a failed experiment that violates our Constitution, invites racial profiling and creates even more distrust between our communities and police. State lawmakers need to abandon efforts to isolate Latino communities in Arizona and focus on collaborations and partnerships needed to re-build Arizona’s economy and reputation.”

Chris Newman, Legal Counsel, National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

“The decision should serve as a warning sign to other states that are considering whether or not to replicate Arizona’s S.B. 1070.”

Yungsuhn Park, Staff Attorney, Asian Pacific American Legal Center:

“This decision affirms that states cannot pass their own immigration schemes targeting immigrants. Arizona’s SB 1070 and other similar state laws are unconstitutional and wrongfully result in the isolation and intimidation of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos and other communities of color.”

The civil rights coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is acting as co-counsel in the case: Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Joseph J. Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd, Yuval Miller, Elisabeth J. Neubauer, and Benjamin Maro Altshuler Berzon LLP: Stephen P. Berzon and Jonathan Weissglass Roush, McCracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.

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