Although the law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 29, the ACLU is concerned that some law enforcement officers are already beginning to act on provisions of the law. Moreover, there has been a history of rampant racial profiling by law enforcement in Arizona, especially in Maricopa County, as well as a stated anti-immigrant policy of "attrition through enforcement" by Arizona lawmakers meant to create a hostile enough environment for Latinos and other people of color that they voluntarily leave the state.
"ACLU affiliates across the country are issuing these alerts because it is imperative that individuals understand their rights before traveling in Arizona," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Under Arizona's racial profiling law, people who look 'foreign' are more likely to be stopped for minor infractions and then asked for their 'papers' if police believe, based on their appearance or accent, that they could be in the country unlawfully. We hope the alerts provide people with some measure of protection from illegal harassment from law enforcement and inform them of their rights should they encounter it."
In addition to the travel alerts, the ACLU has made available in English and Spanish materials on individuals' rights if stopped by law enforcement in Arizona or other states as a result of SB 1070 or for any other reason. The materials include a downloadable card with instructions – applicable in any state – on coping with vehicle stops and questioning by police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or the FBI, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document about SB 1070.
The ACLU and other leading civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the Arizona law in May, but until the law is struck down, the ACLU affiliates warn that individuals traveling in Arizona must be aware of their rights if stopped there.
The following ACLU affiliates are issuing travel alerts today and have provided information on their respective websites: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Northern California, Southern California, San Diego & Imperial Counties, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas and Western Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Eastern Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Materials informing individuals of their rights when stopped by law enforcement and more information about the Arizona law, including an ACLU video and slide show, can be found at: www.aclu.org/what-happens-arizona-stops-arizona