PHOENIX – At a hearing today in a federal court in Phoenix, the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups argued that Arizona's discriminatory new law, known as SB 1070, should be blocked pending a final court ruling on its constitutionality. The law, scheduled to go into effect on July 29, requires police to demand "papers" from people they stop who they suspect are "unlawfully present" in the U.S. According to the coalition, the law would subject massive numbers of people – both citizens and non-citizens – to racial profiling, improper investigations and detention.
The U.S. Department of Justice, in a separate lawsuit, will also ask the court to block SB 1070 in a hearing later today. The court, in the civil rights coalition's case, will also hear arguments on the state of Arizona's motion to dismiss the case.
The civil rights coalition includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice – ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is acting as co-counsel in the case.
Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project and Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF, argued the case on behalf of the civil rights groups.
In May, the coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the extreme law charging that it invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law. Friday's filing seeks to halt implementation of the law while the case is litigated.
The following quotes can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.
Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:
"We are asking the court to block SB 1070 right now because if this discriminatory law went into effect for even one day, it would be one day too many. Any law that requires law enforcement to ask people they stop and suspect of being undocumented for their 'papers' violates the U.S. Constitution and the American values of fairness and equality. This law is a clear invitation for racial profiling, and we're confident that the court will understand the importance of preventing it from ever taking effect."
Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of NILC:
"Judge Bolton heard from lawyers representing organizations ranging from small non-profit service providers to the federal government, asking her to block the implementation of this pernicious law. Inaction on SB 1070 will lead to widespread fear and threatens the constitutional rights and societal values of all Arizonans. Unified voices of civil rights leaders, law enforcement officers and interested citizens are fighting to keep this unconstitutional law from hurting countless Arizonans and undermining our nation's values of fair treatment under the law."
Julie Su, Litigation Director of APALC:
"We are here today in Arizona to ensure that SB 1070 does not take effect next week, as this fundamentally unconstitutional law opens the door for law enforcement to discriminate against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other people of color who look or sound 'foreign.' We have faith the court understands that immigration enforcement is solely the responsibility of the federal government and that it will block this modern-day version of the Chinese Exclusion Act."
Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona:
"While proponents of SB 1070 would have us believe that they have a monopoly on the rule of law, the federal court remains the arbiter of justice in this case. The courageous plaintiffs who have come forward to challenge this unconstitutional racial profiling law are optimistic that the judge will strike down this discriminatory law, which has already resulted in the harassment of innocent people."
Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., include:
• ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project: Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi;
• MALDEF: Perales, Thomas A. Saenz, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Victor Viramontes, Gladys Limón, Nicholás Espiritu and Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal;
• NILC: Joaquin, Karen Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S. Keaney, Vivek Mittal and Ghazal Tajmiri;
• ACLU Foundation of Arizona: Dan Pochoda and Annie Lai;
• APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina Ocampo;
• NDLON: Chris Newman;
• NAACP: Laura Blackburne;
• Munger Tolles & Olson LLP: Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Joseph J. Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd, Yuval Miller, Elisabeth J. Neubauer and Benjamin Maro;
• Roush, McCracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.
The motion for a preliminary injunction can be found at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights-racial-justice/friendly-house-et-al-v-whiting-et-al-plaintiffs-motion-preliminary-
A new ACLU video about how the SB 1070 invites racial profiling can be found at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights-racial-justice/would-you-ask-man-his-papers
More information about the Arizona law can be found at: www.aclu.org/what-happens-arizona-stops-arizona