American Arab and Muslim civil rights advocacy groups have joined other organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and the South Asian Network, in condemning the signing of Arizona Senate State Bill 1070 into law by Governor Jan Brewer. The draconian measure allows law enforcement agencies to detain anybody "if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants," and requires legal immigrants to carry paperwork proving their status at all times.
Currently most immigration law is handled by the Federal government and is an administrative issue, rather than a criminal one. However this law changes that by diverting more law enforcement resources to mostly non-criminal activity meant to be handled by the Federal government.
The new Arizona Immigration legislation:
- Legalizes unchecked racial profiling by local law enforcement of anyone they "suspect" is undocumented.
- Effectively requires all immigrants, even those who are naturalized, to carry identification proving their legal residency in the U.S., and grant police officers authority to enforce federal immigration law and arrest people who cannot produce identification.
- Criminalizes all undocumented immigrants as "trespassers" in the state of Arizona and would subject all undocumented workers and their families to arrest and conviction for misdemeanors, and in some cases felony charges for the new crime of "trespass."
- Allows police officers to arrest people without a warrant, thereby undermining constitutional safeguards under the Fourth Amendment.
- Allows residents to sue cities if they believe the law is not being enforced.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Legal Director, Abed Ayoub, pointed out: "To allow the use of racial profiling in law enforcement practices is both dangerous and unconstitutional. The measure signed into law by Gov. Brewer has a profound impact on not only the Latino community of Arizona, but on all individuals living in the state. This law also illustrates the pressing need for Congress, and the Obama Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
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