Four Lawsuits Challenge Arizona SB 1070

Arizona SB 1070 is scheduled to go into effect on July 28, 2010. Once in force, the law requires state and local law enforcement to check the immigration status of individuals it encounters and makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without proper immigration documentation. This is the first time it has been a state crime to be undocumented in the United States. Currently, there are five challenges which have been filed in federal district court to try and halt implementation of the new law.

Friendly House v. Whiting, No. 10-1061
(D. Ariz. filed May 17, 2010).

On May 17, 2010, a diverse group of organizations filed a class action challenging the constitutionality of the law. The plaintiffs include community service organizations, labor unions, a religious organization, a business association and several individual U.S. citizens and non citizens. The complaint alleges that SB 1070 is unconstitutional because it violates the Supremacy Clause, the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection, as well as the Arizona Constitution.

National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders v. State of Arizona, No. 10-00943 (D. Ariz. filed April 29, 2010).
A similar suit was filed on April 29, 2010 by two non profit organizations in Arizona representing 30,000 affiliated churches, as well as U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and undocumented residents. The suit also challenges the constitutionality of the law and seeks class certification, declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney’s fees.

Escobar v. Brewer, No. 10-00249
(D. Ariz. filed April 29, 2010).

Also on April 29, 2010, a naturalized U.S. citizen who is employed as a police officer in Tucson filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the new law and arguing that it is preempted by federal law.

Salgado v. Brewer, No. 10 00951
(D. Ariz. filed April 29, 2010).

<A U.S. citizen employed as a police officer for the Phoenix Police Department and several civil rights groups in Arizona also filed a similar suit requesting a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the new law until they have had an opportunity to brief and argue their case before the federal district court in Arizona.

SB1070 Faces Diverse Opposition
As of this writing, the government has yet to answer any of the complaints and no hearing schedules have yet been set. The variety of plaintiffs challenging SB 1070 demonstrates clearly the broad cross section of people and organizations that may be affected by the law. Similarly, the lawsuits reveal a number of areas where the state law may impinge on Constitutional rights and powers left to the federal government.

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