Civil Rights Groups Sue Arizona, Claim Immigration Law Violates First Amendment
May 21, 2010 by Special To Personal Liberty
As the firestorm of criticism continues to surround the recently passed Arizona immigration law—which allows police officers to demand documents from individuals who they suspect may be in the United States illegally—major civil rights organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, charging that the law is "extreme," opens doors to racial profiling of minorities, violates the First Amendment and interferes with Federal law.
"Arizona’s law is quintessentially un-American: we are not a ‘show me your papers’ country, nor one that believes in subjecting people to harassment, investigation and arrest simply because others may perceive them as foreign," said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Jadwat expressed his confidence that the lawsuit will prevent the law from ever being implemented.
He was seconded in his opinion by Victor Viramontes, senior national counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), who stated that the law is "discriminatory" and "pushes Arizona into a spiral of fear, increased crime and costly litigation."
In addition to MALDEF, the ACLU was joined by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.