Rights Groups: Court Decision on SB1070 Expected To Spur Widespread Racial Profiling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Keith Rushing, Communications Manager, krushing@rightsworkinggroup, (p) 202.591.3305, (c) 202.557.4291

September 19, 2012, Washington, D.C. - Rights Working Group, a national coalition of grassroots civil liberties and human rights organizations, is deeply concerned that Tuesday’s federal district court decision to allow Section 2(B) of Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070, to go into effect will lead to pervasive racial profiling.

RWG encourages Arizona residents who are stopped by law enforcement to document any discriminatory behavior by law enforcement officers that could support pending civil rights litigation seeking to overturn this discriminatory law.

According to press accounts, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton signed a formal order Tuesday afternoon that lifted the injunction that had blocked implementation of section 2(B) of SB 1070 since 2010. This racial profiling provision of the law requires police to demand papers and investigate the immigration status of anyone they stop and have “reasonable suspicion” is undocumented.

Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group, said it is clear that racial profiling will occur in Arizona to a much greater degree than in the past. “There are no objective indicators of who is or is not undocumented. Police officers will rely on inappropriate factors such as skin color, language or accent in carrying out their investigations,” she said. “People, including U.S. citizens, will feel compelled to carry documents to prove their citizenship or immigration status, which goes against this country’s founding principles and the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.”

Rights Working Group members--the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the Asian American Justice Center and  the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund--which are challenging the law on civil rights grounds have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to issue another injunction to block implementation of the law, but the court has not yet acted. The organizations are also seeking to document civil rights abuses that will demonstrate the law’s discriminatory impact.

Those who experience racial profiling can call 1-855-RESPETO (1-855-737-7386) to report their encounter; this information will be used to assist the litigation effort.

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Rights Working Group (RWG) formed in the aftermath of September 11th to promote and protect the human rights of all people in the United States. A coalition of more than 340 local, state and national organizations, RWG works collaboratively to advocate for the civil liberties and human rights of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, citizenship or immigration status.