The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Federal Appeals Court Rules Arizona Anti-Immigration Law Unconstitutional

April 13, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

In a victory for the civil rights community, a federal appellate court ruled Monday in favor of a lower court’s decision to block controversial aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigration law.

The ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds an injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton last July, which blocked parts of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.  The federal court’s 2-1 ruling rejected the State of Arizona’s appeal – filed by Governor Jan Brewer, a strong supporter of strict anti-immigration policy – arguing that such a state law interferes with the federal government’s authority on immigration.

“In upholding Judge Bolton’s decision, the Ninth Circuit has signaled…that Arizona’s effort to regulate immigration law and policy directly violates the Constitution and will not stand,” said David Leopold, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The law, passed last April, has been widely denounced as extreme, unconstitutional, fundamentally unfair and discriminatory. A group of civil rights organizations filed a class action lawsuit against Arizona’s SB 1070 in federal court in Phoenix last May, arguing that it unlawfully interferes with federal authority to regulate immigration and encourages law enforcement to engage in racial profiling.

Several states are considering copycat SB 1070 legislation, including Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas. A number of national and state-based groups are working against the passage of these bills, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Council de La Raza (NCLR), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The Leadership Conference’s latest report on racial profiling details how racial profiling has expanded within the context of immigration enforcement.

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