The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta, (212) 519-7808 or

As Holiday Weekend Approaches, ACLU Affiliates Issue Alerts To Individuals Traveling To Arizona

Arizona Racial Profiling Law Threatens Civil Liberties


In response to civil liberties threats
caused by the recent passage of Arizona's racial profiling law,
state-based American Civil Liberties Union affiliates across the country
are issuing travel alerts informing individuals of their rights when
stopped by law enforcement when traveling in Arizona. The
unconstitutional law, known as SB 1070, requires law enforcement agents
to demand "papers" from people they stop who they suspect are not
authorized to be in the U.S. If individuals are unable to prove to
officers that they are permitted to be in the U.S., they may be subject
to warrantless arrest without any probable cause that they have
committed a crime.

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

Materials informing individuals of
their rights when stopped by law enforcement optimized for mobile
devices is available at:

More information about the ACLU's
lawsuit, including information on co-counsel and plaintiffs, can be
found at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666