The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, whose coverage area includes Orange County, and the ACLUs of Northern California, San Diego and Imperial Counties and 26 other affiliates, issued an Arizona travel alert today.
"In response to civil liberties threats caused by the recent passage of Arizona‟s racial profiling law," reads today's ACLU statement, the alert was issued "informing residents of their rights when stopped by law enforcement when traveling in Arizona.
The civil rights defenders apparently fear Arizona law enforcement officers are already enforcing the "unconstitutional" SB 1070 law even though it is not scheduled to go into effect until July 29.
The statement also cites "a history of rampant racial profiling by law enforcement in Arizona, especially in Maricopa County," which is lorded over by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as well as Arizona lawmakers stated anti-immigrant policy of "attrition through enforcement" meant to create a hostile enough environment for Latinos and other people of color that they voluntarily leave the state.
"California residents need to know their rights and the dangers of traveling to Arizona before setting foot there," Hector Villagra, ACLU/SC legal director, is quoted as saying in the statement. "This disturbing new law makes it much more likely that a police officer will demand a person deemed 'foreign' to present 'papers' for the smallest of infractions, as simple as a broken taillight or jaywalking."
In addition to the travel alert, the ACLU has made available materials in English and Spanish citing individuals' rights if stopped by law enforcement in Arizona or other states as a result of SB 1070 or for any reason.
Those materials can be found here.
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More information on SB 1070 can be found here.
More information about the ACLU's lawsuit against SB 1070 is here.
More information about the ACLU of Southern California's work on racial profiling is here.
"Our goal is to protect Californians from illegal harassment by law enforcement," Villagra says. "California is a state with deep immigrant roots and a rich history. We are not all one color or one creed. Many of us fit a racial profile that police in Arizona will inevitably use to enforce anextreme and discriminatory law. That's why every Californian should know that under Arizona‟s misguided laws, they will likely experience racial profiling and unlawful detentions."