Federal Appeals Court Blocks Anti-Day Laborer, Anti-Speech Ordinance

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Vesna Jaksic, ACLU national, (212) 284-7347 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Anti-Day Laborer, Anti-Speech Ordinance

Ninth Circuit Ruling Is Another Setback for SB 1070 and Other State Anti-Immigrant Laws

PHOENIX - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today ruled that provisions of Arizona's racial profiling law that criminalized the solicitation of work should remain blocked. The court found that the provisions in SB 1070 likely violated day laborers' First Amendment right to solicit work on public streets.

Today's opinion reaffirms that the freedom to seek work is a constitutionally protected right. The decision also recognizes that the explicit intent of the anti-day labor provisions of SB 1070 was to drive immigrants from the state of Arizona – not, as the state had argued in court, to preserve traffic safety.

Omar Jadwat, supervising attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, said: "With today's ruling, Arizona's notorious SB 1070 law has suffered yet another major defeat in the courts. While Arizona has been spinning its wheels in a vain attempt to defend its fundamentally unconstitutional anti-immigrant law, the rest of the country has moved on, with legislators coming together across party lines to build a common-sense immigration system that benefits us all."

Victor Viramontes, MALDEF's national senior counsel, who argued the case before the court, said: "Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vindicated the rights of day laborers to peacefully solicit work, and confirmed that Arizona's illegal attempt to mute them would be blocked. Courts will not tolerate laws banning day labor solicitation, and other jurisdictions considering similar laws should take note of this important ruling, which establishes legal precedent for the western United States."

Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center, said: "Today's news reaffirms that Arizona's 'solution' really just brings its residents costly legal problems. Rather than defend laws that judge people by how they look, Arizona's elected officials should join some of their colleagues in Arizona and in Washington, DC by advocating for commonsense solutions to fix our outdated immigration process."

Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said: "Arizona's SB1070 is not just an attack on immigrants and day laborers, it is an assault on cherished constitutional rights, including the right to free speech. Once again, day laborers have done work for Arizona and for the country by defending our Constitution. We will not stop until SB 1070 is completely erased from the books and until civil rights are fully respected in Arizona."

Salvador Reza of Tonatierra, an organizational plaintiff, said: "We have always known that the criminalization of day labor is immoral, unjust, and a violation of human rights. Today, it should be very clear that the Constitution forbids such criminalization too."

The ACLU, MALDEF, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) are part of a civil rights coalition representing labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human services and social justice organizations in the case, Valle del Dol v. Whiting.

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