Friday, April 19, 2024

Arizona Immigration Fight Moves to the Courtroom

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center will announce in Phoenix their plans to challenge the controversial new Arizona immigration law. Attorneys have not finalized a date when the court challenge would be filed, but said it would be before the law takes effect mid-summer.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said this week he was also considering a possible legal challenge to the law.

The law, which is set to take effect this summer, will make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to be in the state of Arizona and allow police to stop individuals based on the suspicion of their legal status.

The principal legal issue, according to lawyers, that the state law interferes with the federal government’s duty to handle immigration was also at the center of the court fight over Proposition 187 in California.

Following the governor’s signing of the law last Friday, there has been increasing outcries and protests from critics around the country. Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said, “The entire country has been galvanized. People within the legal community are trying to figure out what we can do…. We have seen an enormous amount of energy responding to this.”

Attorneys who have successfully challenged laws against illegal immigrants in California and Texas argue that the Arizona law faces a similar fate because of the federal/state issue. Immigrant advocates also argue that the law could violate guarantees of equal protection if selectively enforced against certain ethnic groups that can lead to racial profiling.

Peter Schey, a Los Angeles attorney, says, “The Arizona law is doomed to the dustbin of other unconstitutional efforts by local government to regulate immigration, which is a uniquely federal function.”

In Other News:

While at a “Tea Party” rally in San Diego yesterday, California Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) was asked if he supports deportation of natural-born American citizens because they are the children of illegal aliens, Hunted said, “I would have to say, yes. We simply cannot afford what we’re doing right now,” he said. “… It takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls. …”

LA Times

LA Times Blog


  1. First of all, I need to say that I am Hispanic, I’m a retired police officer, and believe it or not, I’m even Republican. I am a current elected official,and am chairman of two separate boards, as well as a former National V.P. of the National Latino Peace Officers Association.

    Even though I’m a retired police officer as well as a Republican, I think what is happening in Arizona is a travesty of justice, a poor excuse to allow indiscriminate racial profiling in Arizona, and a slap in the face to all people of color. It is also an invitation for police to trample on the rights of those individuals who have no voice, and few if any alternatives while their civil rights are being unashamedly violated.

    I would like to suggest a a possible solution to the problem. First of all, get a large group of bilingual, educated Hispanics to volunteer for this project. Then, borrow numerous older cars, but ensure that everything mechanical in the car is in perfect working order (stop lamps, windshields, tires, etc.). Then, “dress them down”, to make them look like foreigners, and have the volunteers drive their well maintained, but old cars up and down highly traveled Hispanic areas, residential and commercial. Then, the fun will begin.

    What you do is, you can have these individuals go “fishing”, so they can be stopped by officers who are racially profiling Hispanics; then, have the volunteers speak only Spanish when they are stopped for a “violation”. Please make sure that these drivers are fully licensed, however, in whichever state they are from. Of course, have the drivers truthfully tell the officer in Spanish that they are U.S. citizens, and have them present their valid licenses to the officer. They may then be hauled off to jail, where they will be booked for being an undocumented alien. I want to stress, however, that the volunteer should cooperate fully, and not be vocal, nor should he/she resist arrest. After the booking process is completed, have the driver conveniently speak perfect English; then, have the “prisoner” make a telephone call, where he/she can call a person who can provide proof that the individual is in fact a U.S. citizen.

    The volunteer may possibly be charged with “Delaying or Obstructing Justice” because of the fact that he/she deliberately delayed the officer in the performance of his/her duties by acting as an undocumented alien; however, as the vehicle stop was not based on legal probable cause, the charge of delaying or obstructing justice would have to be null and void.

    After the volunteers’ release, multiple lawsuits can begin, and the state of Arizona & local jurisdictions (in particular, Maricopa County) will not only be highly embarrassed, but they will also be overwhelmed with racial discrimination lawsuits that will probably be resolved with huge monetary settlements.

    This project may take a little time to coordinate, but I think it can have a great impact, and make the state of Arizona and Maricopa County take notice.

    Simple, isn’t it? Last but not least, having the incident filmed would not be a bad idea as well.

    Please feel free to utilize these comments in a “Guest Blogger” article; you may also forward this to any and all civil rights organizations that you wish.

    Jess Martinez,
    Corcoran, Ca.