Late on Tuesday a coalition of civil rights groups asked a federal court to stop the “show me your papers provision” from Arizona’s SB 1070 from going into effect. Of the four primary provisions the Supreme Court considered, it is the one which in its ruling last month, was not blocked.
Now, the civil rights coalition, which includes the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, is arguing something that the federal government studiously avoided; that SB 1070 and this provision in particular, discriminates against Latinos and those of Mexican origin. The coalition says it is armed with evidence which shows that legislators like the now-ousted Russell Pearce used inflammatory anti-Latino language in their communications about the law.
Section 2(B) of SB 1070 compels law enforcement officers to demand a person’s papers if during the course of a valid stop police have “reasonable suspicion” the person is undocumented. Those who are arrested are allowed to be held in custody until police verify their immigration status.
“In a state that’s more than 30 percent Latino, requiring police to act as immigration agents is an invitation to racial profiling on a massive scale,” Omar Jadwat, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “Police chiefs and communities know these laws don’t work, and we hope that the courts will continue to block them from going forward.”
Without action from the courts, the provision could go into effect in a matter of days, the civil rights coalition said.