State Capitol News
3:12 pm
Mon May 17, 2010

Coalition of Civil Rights Groups File Another Challenge to the New Immigration Law

Phoenix, AZ – The law set to take effect at the end of July requires police,
when practicable, to check the legal status of those they already
have stopped, detained or arrested if there is reasonable
suspicion the person is in the country illegally. The final
version of the legislation specifically precludes police from
using race, ethnicity or national origin as a factor in
determining who to question. But Nina Perales of the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the way the law
is structured will necessarily lead to racial profiling, as it
requires police to determine who to question based on things like
the way people look or sound.

(For us, that is a very clear indication that the targets of this
law are people who, on visual inspection, look to a police
officer like they are minority or foreign born, regardless of
their legal status, because legal status cannot be observed with
the eye.)

But Sen. Russell Pearce, who crafted the measure, said it's not
that simple. He said officers look at the totality of the
circumstances, including whether someone who is stopped can
produce a driver's license -- which in Arizona is proof of legal
presence -- as well as other statements made to officers. The new
challenge is likely to be consolidated with other lawsuits
already filed in federal court asking that the law never be
allowed to take effect. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.