The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta, ACLU, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666;
Jon O'Neill, ACLU of Arizona, (602) 773-6007;
Laura Rodriguez, MALDEF, (310) 956-2425;
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 400-7822;
Karin Wang, APALC, (213) 241-0234 or 999-5640;
Marco Loera, NDLON, (602) 373-3859;
Leila McDowell, NAACP, (202) 463-2940 ext. 1021;

Court Blocks Implementation Of Key Sections Of Arizona's Racial Profiling Law


that Arizona law enforcement will not be required to demand "papers"
from people they stop who they suspect are "unlawfully present" in the
U.S., a federal court in Phoenix today blocked key provisions of
Arizona's racial profiling law, scheduled to go into effect on July 29,
pending a final court ruling on its constitutionality. The ruling came
in a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice challenging the Arizona
law. The ruling vindicates similar claims made by the American Civil
Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups in a separate
lawsuit challenging the discriminatory measure.

The blocked sections under the law include the following provisions:

  • The requirement that police
    officers investigate the immigration status of all individuals they stop
    if the officers suspect that they are in the country unlawfully;
  • The mandatory detention of
    individuals who are arrested, even for minor offenses that would
    normally result in a ticket, if they cannot verify that they are
    authorized to be in the U.S.;
  • The new statute imposing
    state criminal penalties for non-citizens failing to register with the
    Department of Homeland Security or failing to carry registration
  • The provision for warrantless
    arrest of individuals who are deemed by state or local police officers
    to be "removable" from the U.S.; and
  • The new state statute making it a crime for alleged undocumented immigrants to work.

The court did not block the
provision that criminalizes the solicitation of employment on public
streets or the provision that forbids local police agencies from
adopting policies that limit or restrict enforcement of federal
immigration laws.

The civil rights coalition that also
challenged the law 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.

The coalition's lawsuit, filed on May
17 and argued the same day as the Justice Department's case, challenges
SB 1070 on legal grounds raised in the Justice Department's lawsuit as
well as others including that the law invites the racial profiling of
people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with
federal law. 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 following quotes can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

"This is a major step that will help
protect the residents of Arizona against racial profiling and
discrimination, and the Obama administration deserves praise for its
principled decision to challenge this law despite pressure to stay
silent. A single state's frustration with federal policy cannot be
allowed to hijack federal authority or dictate federal priorities in
ways that impede effective law enforcement, threaten the rights of
citizens and non-citizens alike and violate core American values."

Nina Perales, Regional Counsel Southwest Region for MALDEF:

"Today's ruling guts the
unconstitutional immigration scheme that Arizona wanted to establish.
The judge's decision further shows that SB 1070 is an unconstitutional
attempt by the state to take over the federal immigration system within
Arizona's borders. States around the nation should take heed that any
similar efforts will not succeed."

Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of NILC:

"With today's ruling, Judge Bolton
enjoined the most egregious provisions of SB 1070, a dangerous enactment
that threatens the fundamental rights of countless Arizonans and
visitors. Other states following in Arizona's misguided footsteps should
consider themselves forewarned: attempts to trample on the
constitutional rights of communities of color in this country must not
be permitted. We look forward to showing, through our lawsuit, that this
pernicious law should be taken off Arizona's books permanently."

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

"This is a first step toward a
victory for civil liberties in Arizona. We eagerly anticipate proving to
the court that this reactionary racial profiling law violates the
Constitution so we can begin the real work of crafting practical
solutions that address our nation's immigration concerns rather than
violate fundamental American values."

Julie Su, Litigation Director of APALC:

"We applaud the judge for seeing the
imminent danger of having this law enacted. SB 1070 presents a distinct
and separate immigration scheme that conflicts with federal law and
policy, and would have a devastating impact on Asian Americans, Pacific
Islanders, Latinos and other people of color in Arizona. Indeed, some of
those negative effects have already been felt. This ruling makes clear
that intimidation of immigrant communities, pretextual stops to ask for
'papers,' and rhetoric about who belongs in Arizona and who doesn't
under the guise of enforcing SB 1070 should cease immediately."

Pablo Alvarado, Director of NDLON:

"If history is any guide, the road
ahead in Arizona will be a long one. Today was one stop along the way,
and we while we have complete faith in the legal process to ultimately
defend the United States Constitution, we will not declare victory until
SB 1070 is stopped in its entirety and until civil rights of all people
in Arizona are fully protected."

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

  • ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project: Lucas Guttentag, Omar Jadwat, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi;
    Perales, Thomas A. Saenz, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Victor Viramontes,
    Gladys Limon, Nicholas 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:

A new ACLU video about how the SB 1070 invites racial profiling can be found at:

More information about the Arizona law 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