State Capitol News
5:00 am
Fri June 15, 2012

ACLU Warns Police Not to Enforce SB1070 Before Court Ruling

The American Civil Liberties Union wants state officials to warn police officers not to enforce the state's immigration law before they are legally entitled to do so. 

The letter to the Peace Officers Standards and Training board comes just days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of SB 1070. Alessandra Meetze, executive director of the Arizona chapter, said AzPOST should remind officers that even if the high court rules 1070 is not preempted by federal law, that does not immediately free them to check the immigration status of those they have stopped. At the very least, the high court would have to order the trial judge to dissolve the injunction issued nearly two years ago. Meetze said she fears rogue officers will jump the gun -- a fear she said is justified based on actions by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department.

"We have a police department in Maricopa that is engaging in very aggressive stops and questioning of people based on their immigration status," Meetze said. "That's the concern, that they're going to adopt this Maricopa, these Arpaio-style tactics. And they're going to start engaging in these kind of practices across the state."

Meetze also noted the high court ruling will not end the legal fight over SB 1070. She said her organization might seek a new injunction based on its own pending lawsuit that the law will automatically lead to illegal racial profiling.