With the clock ticking until the new Arizona immigration law is scheduled to go into effect on July 29, civil rights groups have followed the example of the Federal government and gone to court to block its implementation.
A coalition led by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued in a Federal court in Phoenix that SB 1070 should be halted pending a final ruling on its constitutionality.
The groups are concerned that the law’s requirement for police officers to demand identification documents from individuals who they suspect may be in the United States illegally may lead to racial profiling and discrimination of minorities.
“This fundamentally unconstitutional law opens the door for law enforcement to discriminate against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other people of color who look or sound ‘foreign’,” said Julie Su, litigation director of Asian Pacific American Legal Center, which is a member of the coalition of plaintiffs.
She added that “we have faith the court understands that immigration enforcement is solely the responsibility of the Federal government and that it will block this modern-day version of the Chinese Exclusion Act.”
However, supporters of SB 1070 say that it is the Federal government’s inability to secure the border with Mexico and pass a comprehensive immigration reform that has prompted Arizona’s lawmakers to take matters into their own hands.