The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit yesterday 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.”
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 equality.”
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 policy.”
Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., include:
* 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 Limón, Nicholás 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 L
* APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina Ocampo
* 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 on the law can be found http://www.aclu.org/what-happens-arizona-stops-arizona