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Arrest-Form Question Prompts Suit by ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday aimed at preventing San Diego County law-enforcement agencies from including information concerning a suspect’s immigration status on arrest forms, an ACLU spokesman said.

The suit, filed in Superior Court, names San Diego County Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller, the County of San Diego, and the county-operated Automated Regional Justice Information System as defendants, said Gregory Marshall, legal director for the ACLU’s San Diego chapter.

According to Marshall, a commonly used arrest form contains a line with the words “undocumented person” and a box marked “yes” above it for the officer to check if he believes the suspect is an illegal alien.

He said allowing police officers to use their “gut instinct” in determining a person’s immigration status violates that person’s constitutional rights to privacy, due process and equal protection under the law.

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Marshall said it was no coincidence that the lawsuit was filed the same day the amnesty program for illegal aliens began.

“One of the reasons we filed (Tuesday)is that no longer can people tell by a glance if someone is undocumented or not, if someone is involved in the legalization program or not,” Marshall said.


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