ACLU sues to stop Arizona’s immigration law


Several civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to halt a controversial new Arizona law that requires local police to enforce federal immigration regulations.

The lawsuit is at least the fourth filed since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last month signed the law, which makes it a state crime to lack immigration paperwork in Arizona and requires police to determine the status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants. The federal class-action claim contends that the law will lead to widespread racial profiling, infringes on the federal government’s ability to set immigration policy and violates the Constitution’s 1st and 4th amendments.

Arizona immigration: An article in Tuesday’s Section A about lawsuits filed against Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law did not fully describe the measure. The article said the law requires police to determine the status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants. The law applies only to people whom police have stopped for another reason and suspect are in the country illegally. —

“This law is shameful, un-American, it will undermine public safety and it is unconstitutional,” said Lucas Guttentag, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, among the groups that filed the suit. Also named are the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

The individual plaintiffs include a 70-year-old U.S. citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent who says he’s been stopped twice by Arizona police asking for “papers”; a Latino citizen studying at Arizona State University whose New Mexico driver’s license would not be accepted as proof of citizenship under the law; and a Jamaican immigrant who fears police will not believe the photocopy of a judge’s order that he be allowed to stay in the country, the only paperwork he has that gives him legal status here.

Brewer’s office had no immediate comment, but she has been strenuously arguing Arizona’s case to correct what she called misinformation about the law.

She ordered training for all police to ensure no racial profiling occurs. Last week she formed a group to try to win back business to the state, which has been the target of calls for boycotts.