• Thu. May 30th, 2024

Arizona Attorney General Issues Opinion to Stop Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement

ByGeorge Bao

Sep 16, 2016

By George Bao   Sept. 15, 2016

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Attorney General’s Office Thursday issued an opinion which will stop racial profiling by law enforcement, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) announced.

The opinion will have an impact nationwide for the law enforcement, said Advancing Justice-LA.

The opinion establishes guidelines for the implementation of two remaining provisions of the state’s 2010 racial profiling law, SB 1070.

With the opinion, the organizations that brought Valle del Sol et al. v. Whiting et al. have agreed to conclude this challenge to SB 1070, which has largely been rendered unenforceable by the courts.

The opinion dictates that officers cannot use race or ethnicity to develop reasonable suspicion that someone is unlawfully present in the United States, cannot stop people solely to investigate immigration status, and cannot hold people in order to investigate immigration status if it will extend the stop beyond the time necessary to address the state law basis for the contact.

Every criminal provision of SB 1070 has been blocked and Thursday’s Attorney General opinion, which will be sent to law enforcement agencies across the state, sets down narrow guidelines for how two remaining provisions of the law, Sections 2(B) and 2(D), can be enforced.

“This last step in the SB 1070 litigation makes it clear that what the legislature intended—and much of the immigration enforcement that police in Arizona previously engaged in—is unlawful,” said Omar Jadwat, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

“The Attorney General’s legal opinion makes it clear that no one can be detained based on suspected immigration status, and no one can be targeted because of their race. Officers who do not pay scrupulous attention to the limits of their authority will be held accountable, just as Sheriff Arpaio has been held accountable.”

“Arizona blazed a trail of mean-spirited policies intended to starve and isolate immigrants six years ago, and many states followed this flawed path,” said MALDEF’s National Senior Counsel Victor Viramontes.

“After millions of dollars spent on lawyers, multiple federal decisions blocking key provisions of the law, and finally a state-issued opinion severely constraining local law enforcement, Arizona’s policies have failed to serve anyone living in Arizona.”

“Six years ago, we joined the civil rights challenge to SB 1070 because we knew that the full force of Arizona’s oppressive law encouraged overbroad and indiscriminate targeting of entire immigrant communities,” said Laboni Hoq, litigation director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA).

“When the law first passed, our client Jim Shee, a U.S. Citizen of Chinese and Spanish descent was stopped twice by local law enforcement and asked to produce identification documents. No law should be allowed to encourage this sort of discrimination and Asian and Pacific Islander communities stand with other communities of color to ensure that no one has to live under its harmful effects.”

“Thanks to the inspiring people who brought this lawsuit, the state of Arizona is finally making a public commitment to permanently uphold basic civil rights protections threatened by its misguided 2010 anti-immigrant law,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director at the National Immigration Law Center.

“While this important agreement marks an end to a hard-fought legal battle, we will continue to be vigilant to ensure that local law enforcement doesn’t violate these important protections. A recognition of the rights of communities of color on paper is not enough until it is reflected in the lived experience of all Arizonans.”

Counsel on the case include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of Arizona, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Ortega Law Firm, P.C., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Altshuler Berzon LLP.


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