The state of Arizona has enacted a law that is the greatest threat to civil rights in America in a generation.
Even though it's 2010 and not 1963, federal action is necessary once again to protect civil rights in a state where the governor and legislature are writing racial discrimination into the law.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits unreasonable government search and seizure. But Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law SB 1070, legislation that that effectively mandates racial profiling and police harassment of Latinos.
Not only does SB 1070 require the police to investigate and detain anyone who could reasonably be suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, it actually makes it a crime not to have papers providing your immigration status.
Sign our petition to Attorney General Holder asking him to file suit to prevent this blatantly unjust and unconstitutional law from ever going into effect.
If no injunction is obtained by the Department of Justice, the bill will go into effect in August, creating a unique and frightening situation within Arizona's borders where anyone who forgets to carry identification or papers proving immigration status could be picked up by police. Arizona will become a place where someone who appears to be a Latino or speaks English with an accent will be at constant risk of being stopped and interrogated by law enforcement.
The Arizona bill is so extreme that even Tom Tancredo--a rabid anti-immigrant zealot--opposes this law.
The federal government has a special role to play in situations like this. When states pass unconstitutional laws that clearly violate the civil rights of its citizens, the federal government must step in to protect those rights.
This deeply wrong-headed legislation is not only unconstitutional, but it demonizes and dehumanizes immigrants and puts them at risk. Undocumented immigrants who are victims of or witnesses to violent crime will be afraid to cooperate with authorities -- which is why the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposes the bill.
The Attorney General has taken an oath to defend the Constitution. He cannot let this anti-American, unconstitutional attack on the civil rights of immigrants and Latinos stand.