The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta
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U.S. Department Of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Arizona's Racial Profiling Law

ACLU And Other Groups Also Challenging Law Laud Obama Administration's Action


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed
a lawsuit today challenging Arizona's recently enacted racial profiling
law known as SB 1070. In taking this extraordinary action, the federal
government has sent a clear message that it will not tolerate state laws
that invite racial stereotyping and profiling and interfere with
federal immigration priorities and policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union,
along with a coalition of leading rights groups, filed a lawsuit in May
challenging the constitutionality of the law.

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 serving as pro bono co-counsel in the case.

The following statements can be
attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.

Lucas Guttentag,
Director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:

"We commend the Obama administration
for taking this critical step to negate Arizona's unconstitutional
usurpation of federal authority and its invitation to racial profiling.
The administration's lawsuit is a cannon shot across the bow of other
states that may be tempted to follow Arizona's misguided approach. We
will continue to aggressively pursue our legal challenge and welcome the
Justice Department's participation in the battle to preserve American
values of fairness and equality."

Linton Joaquin,
General Counsel of NILC:

"States planning to follow in
Arizona's misguided footsteps should take note: the United States cannot
and should not allow immigrants and communities of color to be targets
of hateful racial profiling legislation that puts their civil liberties
on the line. We are pleased to see that the government has exercised its
legal right to protect the rights of those within its borders and
ensure that federal issues remain squarely in the federal domain."

Alessandra Soler
Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona:

"The Obama administration's action
against this 'show me your papers' law sends a loud and clear message
against state laws that institutionalize racial profiling of Latinos and
result in an erosion of trust between law enforcement and the
community. There has been a long history of racial profiling of Latinos
in our state, particularly in Maricopa County, causing witnesses and
victims of crime to be less willing to come forward. We will fight
vigorously to keep this law from going into effect, and welcome the
administration's efforts toward the same goal."

Julie Su,
Litigation Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of
Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:

"We welcome the Department of
Justice's action against Arizona's law that invites racial profiling of
anyone who might be perceived as being foreign, including Asian
Americans. We hope the DOJ's challenge to this discriminatory law
signals a willingness on the part of the federal government to address
the myriad ways that our country's broken immigration system affects
Americans and those who seek a better life by coming to America. We need
federal action to prevent more cities and states from introducing
copycat measures that violate core American values of fairness and

Chris Newman,
Legal Director, NDLON:

"The Department of Justice has the
legal and moral obligation to challenge SB 1070, not just to protect
civil rights in Arizona but also to defend the federal government's
exclusive authority to define and implement United States immigration

Benjamin Todd
Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP:

"In filing this lawsuit, the Obama
administration has taken a strong and principled stand against Arizona's
discriminatory law. African-Americans have the misfortune of being all
too familiar with the pernicious effects of racial profiling, and we
welcome the addition of the administration to the broad spectrum of
organizations already challenging this unconstitutional law. Laws that
encourage discrimination have no place in this country. We are confident
that the courts will prevent it from ever taking effect."

Organizations and attorneys on the
case, Friendly
House et al. v. Whiting et al.,

  • ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project: Guttentag, Omar Jadwat,
    Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi
  • MALDEF: Thomas A. Saenz, Nina Perales, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon,
    Victor Viramontes, Gladys Limon, Nicholas Espiritu and Ivan
  • 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
  • NDLON: Newman and Lisa Kung
  • 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.

More information about the Arizona
law, including an ACLU video and slide show, 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