Nonprofits Sue Over Arizona Immigration Law
The National Immigration Law Center and a coalition of nonprofit organizations have filed a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona’s new law requiring police to demand identification papers from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to be in this country. The new law, say the nonprofits, “invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.”
The organizations combining on the lawsuit include the ACLU, MALDEF, the NAACP, ACLU of Arizona, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.
According to the coalition, the lawsuit charges that the Arizona law unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; invites racial profiling against people of color by law enforcement in violation of the equal protection guarantee and prohibition on unreasonable seizures under the 14th and Fourth Amendments; and infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers and others in Arizona.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the controversial new law “will threaten the very livelihoods and daily actions of Arizonans of color, hurting all Arizonans.”
Take, for example, plaintiff Luz Santiago. Santiago, a church pastor in Mesa, is a U.S. citizen and a Latina. She believes that the law will not only trample on her civil rights, but will also put the safety of her mostly Latino congregation at risk. The law would subject her to arrest for the simple act of taking congregants to the hospital when they need urgent care or youth to spiritual events if they are undocumented. She also fears that her church will no longer be a sanctuary for all, leaving vulnerable people with nowhere to turn when they need help.
The lawsuit came days after President Obama and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico both condemned the new law at a White House appearance.