New Lawsuit Slams Arizona’s Immigration Law

July 10, 2010

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens and the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law today announced the filing of a new federal court lawsuit challenging Arizona’s recently enacted unconstitutional law that criminalizes undocumented presence in Arizona. The training materials issued a few days ago by Arizona are so vague and ill-defined that they will certainty lead to widespread racial profiling and discrimination.

The complaint, filed Friday July 9, 2010, in federal court in Phoenix as a class action, alleges that Arizona’s training materials developed and distributed to Arizona law enforcement agencies to implement S.B. 1070 “exacerbate the conflicts between the United States Constitution and federal laws on the one hand, and Arizona law on the other hand.” The complaint alleges that Arizona’s training materials violate federal law “by failing to recognize that numerous categories of immigrants who did not enter the United States lawfully nevertheless are eligible for legalization of status,” and “by permitting law enforcement officers to rely upon vague and ill-defined factors such as a person’s ‘dress,’ ‘difficulty communicating in English,’ ‘demeanor,’ and ‘claim of not knowing others … at [the] same location,’ as providing justification for a detention based on suspected undocumented status.” The lawsuit argues that Arizona’s S.B. 1070 is “void and should be struck down under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include LULAC, two University professors who seek standing as tax-payers, and five undocumented immigrants whose presence is known to the federal government and who are seeking legalization of status in pending petitions but do not possess the type of documentation showing lawful residence that the new Arizona law demands to avoid detention, arrest, and prosecution.

“As the oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States, we are profoundly disturbed by the anti-immigrant law recently enacted in Arizona,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “We plan to vigorously fight that law, and Arizona’s discriminatory training materials to implement the law, in the federal courts, in the Arizona legislature, and in the United States Congress. Arizona may be frustrated, as are we, with Congress’ failure to seriously address comprehensive immigration reform. Nevertheless, the solution is not a patchwork of varying state laws each trying to be more repressive than the next to force immigrants to go elsewhere.”

Peter Schey, President of the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law who served as lead counsel in the LULAC v. Wilson case which declared California’s Proposition 187 unconstitutional and now serves as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Arizona case said, “The training materials issued a few days ago by Arizona are so vague and ill-defined that they will certainty lead to widespread racial profiling and discrimination. The Arizona law and its training materials conflict with federal immigration law in numerous ways so that immigrants who are known to the federal authorities with petitions to legalize their status will nevertheless be subject to detention, arrest and prosecution in Arizona because they do not possess the kinds of specific documentary proof Arizona insists upon to establish lawful presence.”

LULAC will be addressing Immigration reform in Albuquerque for the LULAC National Convention. For updated conference information, visit www.lulac.org.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

Receive recent news from the League
of Latin American Citizens.

Become an eMember!