MCLU Applauds Legislators for Signing Statement in Opposition to Arizona Law

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
April 30, 2010 12:00 am

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MCLU Joins May 1 March Against Arizona Racial Profiling Law


Portland – Tomorrow the MCLU will join dozens of Maine groups in protesting Arizona’s racial profiling law, S.B. 1070, at Congress Square Park in Portland. Tomorrow’s march is one of hundreds of rallies and marches planned nationwide on May 1. The MCLU will also join Maine legislators who have signed a statement denouncing the Arizona law.

“Arizona’s law is legally unsound and encourages racial profiling,” said MCLU Field Director Brianna Twofoot, who will be speaking at the rally. “Racial profiling betrays the most basic American value and belief that all people, regardless of their skin color, should be protected equally by the law.”

The MCLU and fellow marchers will gather at Kennedy Park and Union Station Plaza and marching to meet at Congress Square Park on High Street. Marchers will start at 2:30. A program including music and speakers begins at 3:30 at Congress Square.

“As legislators in a state with a vibrant immigrant community, we are deeply troubled by passage of Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona. Many of my colleagues and I have signed a statement of support for increased due process and equal protection for immigrants in Maine,” said Senator Justin Alfond (D-Portland), who will also be speaking at tomorrow’s rally. “As a law maker, I feel it is my duty to denounce this misguided law and voice my commitment to making Maine a welcoming state for immigrants.”

Senator Alfond is one of 25 of Maine state legislators signed onto a letter this week denouncing the Arizona bill. (A copy of the statement is attached.) Maine lawmakers have passed immigrant-friendly bills in the past two legislative sessions, including two bills to ban REAL ID in Maine. Many Maine legislators have voiced their strong commitment to making Maine a welcoming state for immigrants.

Maine’s actions stand in stark contrast to the Arizona law. S.B. 1070 requires law enforcement to question individuals, including United States citizens, they deem “reasonably suspicious” about their immigration status during everyday police encounters. It makes violating federal immigration law a state crime, and mandates that local law enforcement enforce federal immigration law. It places the onus of any outcome to a question, search, or detainment by a cop of an individual on the stopped individual, even going so far as to require the detained individual to pay fees associated with jail time. It allows citizens to take legal action against a police department if the citizen believes the police department is not adhering to the law.

“Requiring Americans to comply with orders for “your papers, please” essentially turns Arizona into a police state,” said Twofoot. “Racial profiling and “show your papers” violate traditional American values of fairness and equality.”

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