Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Please support our Arizona Petition...

Good people,

Please take a moment to read the petition draft by members of this group and express support by commenting on the post with your name and title. Our goal is to send this petition to political leaders and media outlets in the hope of promoting change.

Arizona Petition
The undersigned law professors and interested individuals write this petition requesting the Governor and the Legislature of the State of Arizona to repeal SB 1070, in the alternative, call upon Congress to conduct hearings on Arizona’s ultra virus act of authorizing local police to enforce federal immigration laws without an express delegation from Congress. The petitioners also urge President Obama to direct the Justice Department Civil Rights Division to mobilize quickly to educate the public how to report civil rights violations associated with SB 1070.

With the passage of SB 1070, the state of Arizona has ignored legal precedent striking down similar state encroachments on federal supremacy relating to immigration. Moreover, courts have held similar encroachments to be violative of Due Process and Equal Protection. Astonishingly, this new law was passed despite ongoing litigation in the state challenging previous Arizona efforts to regulate immigration.

SB 1070 is also unwise public policy that will likely result in repugnant police action such as racial profiling. The law also violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It turns the presumption of innocence on its ear and will invariably lead to wrongful and exceedingly long incarcerations. Specifically, SB 1070 allows local law enforcement to incarcerate individuals until the local authorities are contacted by the U.S. government. Under the Act, whenever a law enforcement officer has "reasonable suspicion" that the person "is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.” The person's immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c). Presumably, under SB 1070, an accused illegal can either file a writ of Habeas Corpus in federal court or wait for the federal government to verify his or her status.

Despite contemporary disdain for stereotyping and stigma, this law will empower state police officers to request documentation from people to ascertain whether they are undocumented, which will likely be based solely on the appearance of these presumed illegals or the language they speak. Reminiscent of the shameful raids during one of this country’s darkest hours—Operation Wetback of the 1940s—the efforts by local authorities in Arizona may very well lead to the wrongful incarceration and even deportations of far too many United States citizens and legal residents. Through this act, local authorities will be empowered to presume individuals—most likely Hispanic members of its community— illegal. Such efforts must not be tolerated. SB 1070 will also likely cause undocumented and other members of the immigrant community to be vulnerable to crime, as they will not report crimes to law enforcement if they think that will put them in jeopardy. Not only is this law unconstitutional and unwise public policy, it will cost local and federal taxpayers millions in terms of enforcement, in efforts at verifying status of detained individuals, and through the countless law suits likely resulting from wrongful arrests and false imprisonment.

Therefore, the undersigned respectfully request the state of Arizona to rescind its unconstitutional and unwise law, or in the alternative, we urge President Obama and the federal government to step in and protect the civil and human rights of this republic.


  1. Please do accept my support and add my name to this well-stated critique. Thanks for your efforts.

    Eric M. Fink
    Associate Professor
    Elon University School of Law
    Greensboro, NC

  2. Ediberto and others: Thank you for drafting this statement. I wholeheartedly agree, though I'm wary of using the "illegal" label to describe the targets of this law.

    César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
    Visiting Assistant Professor
    University of Tulsa College of Law
    blog: www.crImmigration.com

  3. From a supporter:

    I strongly support this statement and deplore the actions of the Arizona legslature and governor.
    Keith Aoki
    Martin Luther King, Jr. King Hall Scholar
    UC-Davis King Hall School of Law

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You have my complete support. Thank you for putting together such an eloquent statement that we can all sign onto. Unidos.

    Sonya C. Garza
    Assistant Professor of Law
    Elon University School of Law
    Greensboro, NC

  6. I do NOT support the petition. I believe that enforcing current law is the responsiblity of all levels of government.

    Wendy Crimp, RN
    American Citizen


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