Washington, D.C. (April 26, 2010) – Muslim American Society Freedom’s Thurgood Marshal Immigrant Justice Project condemns the signing of Arizona Senate State Bill 1070 into law by Governor Jan Brewer.
The 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.
There is a profound fear in the civil rights community that the new measure will permit the practice of racial profiling by Arizona law enforcement personnel. The bill that Gov. Brewer signed makes it a misdemeanor for any person to not have proper documentation of citizenship when such information is demanded by law enforcement officials. The new law also requires a police officer to attempt to determine a person’s immigration status if they form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is undocumented.
Khalilah Sabra, Clinic Legal Director and National Immigration Rights Coordinator, stated that, “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 all individuals living in the state, works against the long term interest of our country as a whole, and illustrates the need for Congress, and the Obama Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
MAS Freedom applauds the president’s condemnation of the misguided law, and the request from the administration that the Department of Justice immediately investigate the constitutionality of the measure. However, this stringent immigration enforcement bill became law in Arizona despite being criticized by President Obama as “misguided.”
MAS Freedom calls upon the Department of Justice to ensure that the civil rights and liberties of all residents of Arizona are protected. This new Arizona state law threatens to generate a national uproar, and could set the stage for court battles over how far states can go when it comes to immigration policies.
MAS Freedom Executive Director Mahdi Bray stated that, “MAS Freedom will continue to monitor the situation in Arizona. President Obama stated that this new legislation threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. Additionally, we will intensify our collaborate advocacy efforts with the Latino community and other civil rights organizations. We call for a full national mobilization of the American Muslim Community in our position to Arizona’s Legalization of racial profiling. This misguided legislation will certainly unite millions of Americans from diverse backgrounds who recognize that what America needs is not racial profiling but a fair and equitable immigration policy.”
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund said it plans a legal challenge to the law, arguing it “launches Arizona into a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.”
Demonstrators have protested the legislation since it was approved by lawmakers Monday. Their numbers have steadily grown throughout the week, with buses bringing in people from as far away as Los Angeles.
In Mexico, a pro-migrant activist called the measure “racist.”
Francisco Loureiro, who runs a Nogales migrant shelter, said that now, in the state of Arizona, “there is already a hunt for migrants and now it will be open season under the cover of a law.”
MAS Freedom is a civic and human rights advocacy of the Muslim American Society, the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America – with 55 chapters in 35 states.