Mexico files brief supporting lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law

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by Sharon Rondeau

The State of Arizona is not yet 100 years old.

(Jul. 1, 2010) On June 22, Mexico filed a brief in support of overturning the State of Arizona’s new immigration law scheduled to take effect on July 29.  In the filing, the Mexican government stated that it “is concerned for the civil rights of its citizens in Arizona.”

The brief expresses the Mexican government’s support of a lawsuit filed by several groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, and the National Immigration Law Center.  The NILC’s statement on SB 1070 can be found here.

The ACLU calls the new Arizona law the “Racial Profiling Bill” and claims that it “invites racial profiling against people of color by law enforcement in violation of the equal protection guarantee and prohibition on unreasonable seizures under the 14th and Fourth Amendments; and infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers and others in Arizona.”

More information on the ACLU’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona can be found here.

The Sonoran News has reported that Mexico’s brief is an “amicus curiae” filing which contends that Mexico “wants to assure that its citizens, present in the United States, are ‘accorded the human and civil rights granted under the U.S. Constitution; having therefore a substantial and compelling interest in protecting its citizens and ensuring that their ethnicity is not used as a basis for state-sanctioned acts of discrimination, including the inequitable application of civil and criminal laws and state’s law enforcement powers.’”  The brief also admits that there are “over 11 million nationals in the United States” but does not use the term “illegally” when referring to such individuals.

Arizona Governor Janice Brewer has asked the court to limit “amici curiae” filings, contending that “more than ten amici curiae have filed motions in this case – with new motions for leave to file amicus briefs coming in daily.”  She also requested that briefs in support of or against the new law be excluded.

Governor Brewer’s web page has posted a “Common Myths and Facts” sheet on SB1070 which states that authorities must first conduct a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” before utilizing the “secondary enforcement” provision of the new law.  The summary also refutes the claim that the law is unconstitutional “because it intrudes on the federal government’s power to enforce immigration laws,” stating that “It is settled case law that states and local police may enforce criminal provisions of federal immigration law.”

Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, now Homeland Security Secretary, had written to Michael Chertoff and Donald Rumsfeld requesting “additional Federal attention at the border” and commending Chertoff for ICE personnel changes he had made in Maricopa County.  That letter was signed by both Napolitano and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known for his tough stance against illegal immigration and has arrested illegals found working in Maricopa County’s businesses and elsewhere.

Today Obama said he “was ready to pursue” an immigration bill but admitted that “Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes.”  He has criticized SB1070 from its inception, calling it “misguided,” and plans to file a lawsuit against Arizona soon.

Those wishing to contribute to Arizona’s border security initiative may do so here.

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