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Feminist News


May-18-10

Coalition Files New Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law

A coalition of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law yesterday. The suit was filed in a US District Court and asks for the law to be declared unconstitutional and to have it blocked from going into effect in July. According to the Associated Press, the new lawsuit is the fifth filed against the immigration law and no hearings have been scheduled in any of the cases, which could be consolidated. The new law allows law enforcement officials in Arizona to request proof of legal immigration, residency, or citizenship of anyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant.

The coalition filing the most recent lawsuit consists of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. The coalition filed the suit on behalf of a number of plaintiffs, including individuals, labor unions, domestic violence organizations, social justice organizations, and day laborer groups.

"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, an ACLU Immigrants Rights Project attorney in a press release. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said in the press release, "The government should be preventing police from investigating and detaining people based on color and accent, not mandating it. Laws that encourage discrimination have no place in this country anywhere for anyone."

In response to the law, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13 to 1 last week to boycott future Arizona-based business contracts and government travel to the state. Currently, Los Angeles has contracts with Arizona-based companies that are worth about $56 million.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also signed a bill last week that bans ethnic studies classes in the state's public schools. The new law (see PDF) bans classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government," "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Media Resources: Associated Press 5/18/10; ACLU Press Release 5/17/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/13/10