The American Civil Liberties Union and a collection of other civil rights organizations on May 17 filed a class action lawsuit that counters Arizona’s imminent law targeting illegal immigration.

The National Immigration Law Center, The National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the many groups that have banded together to file the suit.

“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,” Omar Jadwat, staff attorney of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a press release. “This law violates the Constitution and interferes with federal law, and we are confident that we will prevent it from ever taking effect.”

Arizona’s new law requires police to demand “papers” from people they stop whom they suspect are not authorized to be in the United States, and criminalizes immigrants for failing to carry immigration papers.

The law is set go in effect on July 28 if not stopped by a court.

“We are very proud to be a part of this lawsuit and we have great confidence it will be successful,” Benjamin Jealous, president and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP, told reporters Monday. “We’re very concerned that this law will turn citizens into suspects. It truly makes racial profiling a state policy.”

Jealous also explained the reason for the NAACP’s involvement in the issue in a press release.

“African Americans know all too well the insidious effects of racial profiling,” Jealous said. “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.”


Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor