Arizona’s SB 1070: Court Blocks Another Provision

September 5, 2012

Adela de la Torre, 213-674-2832, [email protected]

Federal Court Blocks Part of Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law; Allows “Show Me Your Papers” Provision to Stand

Civil Rights Coalition Will Continue to Fight Against Racial Profiling Law

PHOENIX – A federal district court today blocked a provision in Arizona’s anti-immigrant law that aimed to criminalize friends and family members who engage in everyday activities with undocumented immigrants, but failed to block section 2(B) of SB 1070, which forces police officers to demand “papers” of those they believe are in the country unlawfully. Civil rights groups challenging SB 1070 contend that section 2(B) encourages racial profiling, mandates illegal detention, and betrays American values.

“Today’s ruling will lead to rampant racial profiling of Latinos and others who might be ‘suspected’ of being in Arizona without authorization. This isn’t just a blow to our plaintiffs, but also a step back from our core values of equality under the law. We are committed to continuing the fight against this law in our case until it is permanently struck down,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center.

The “show me your papers” section of the law will not take effect until further order from the court, which will not happen immediately. The provision blocked today by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona aimed to create criminal penalties for individuals who drive or live with an immigrant who lacks authorization to live in the country. Similar provisions found in anti-immigrant laws in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina have been blocked by courts at the district and appellate levels.

“After today, regrettably, Latinos will face civil rights violations across Arizona because the court failed to recognize that the ‘show me your papers’ law will subject Latinos to illegal arrests and racial profiling,” said Victor Viramontes, MALDEF national senior counsel. “We will closely monitor the state’s attempts to implement this deeply flawed law.”

“The district court was correct in blocking Arizona’s harboring statute, which criminalized many everyday interactions with unauthorized immigrants,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Unfortunately, the district court’s ruling let the ‘show me your papers’ law stand, despite significant new evidence that it was passed with a discriminatory motive and will result in illegal detentions. The ruling puts an enormous burden on the countless Arizona residents who will be victims of racial profiling and illegal detentions because of this law. We remain committed to fighting what is left of SB 1070 and defending the rights of all Arizonans to be free from this unjust law.”

The decision is the latest legal move in Valle del Sol v. Whiting, a class action legal challenge to SB 1070 that was filed in May 2010. This challenge, which was brought by a coalition of civil rights organizations, includes civil rights claims against Arizona’s racial profiling law that were not raised in the U.S. Supreme Court case over SB 1070 brought by the federal government. Plaintiffs include Jim Shee, an Arizona-born citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent who was racially profiled.

“While today’s ruling puts civil rights at risk, it does nothing to undermine our resolve to continue fighting until SB 1070 is struck down in its entirety,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); the ACLU of Arizona; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON); the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Law firms Roush McCracken Guerrero and Miller and Ortega, as well as  Munger, Tolles and Olson and Altshuler Berzon LLP provided support.

A copy of the order is available here: