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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

U.S. Justice Department Files Lawsuit against Arizona over Racial Profiling Law

July 6, 2010

Francisco Lopez, Executive Director: (503) 269-5694
Erik Sorensen, Communications Director: (503) 488-0263

U.S. Justice Department Files Lawsuit against Arizona over Racial Profiling Law

Salem, Ore.--Today the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of Arizona over their racial profiling law, S.B. 1070. The lawsuit argues that Federal authority to enforce immigration law trumps state statute. The Department of Justice has asked for a preliminary injunction to delay the law from going into affect-- citing that it will cause "irreparable harm".

The following is a statement from Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of CAUSA, Oregon's Statewide Immigrant Rights Coalition:

"CAUSA and our sister organizations applaud the action by the Obama Administration to sue to block Arizona's misguided law targeting Latino immigrants. The duty to set immigration policy rests with the Federal Government and not with individual states, counties or cities wishing to create their own patchwork of laws.

This legal action by the federal government sends a strong message that laws racially targeting segments of our population will not be tolerated as they are both unlawful and un-American.

We are confident that this lawsuit will be successful in having Arizona's misguided law thrown out. Similar state and local laws have been struck down by the courts. For example, Proposition 187 in California, a ballot measure approved by voters in 1994, was struck down by a federal judge who said that the federal government is responsible for immigration policy. Similar decisions have been made in court cases regarding local ordinances in places like Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas.
Although we applaud the Obama Administration's action, a lawsuit alone will not end the vacuum created by the lack of workable immigration laws. The issue of Arizona and other states creating their own laws reminds us that we need leadership at the federal level to fix our nation's broken immigration system. The President and Congress must work to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrant working families, secure the border, and crack down on illegal hiring."

Today's announcement by the Justice Department comes after more than 30 jurisdictions across the nation have enacted resolutions to condemn Arizona's law, joined a national boycott of Arizona, or instituted travel bans. Similar resolutions are pending in at least 30 other jurisdictions nationwide.

While legislators in at least 20 states are considering bills similar to the Arizona law, thus far, efforts in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and other states have either failed or stalled. Any efforts to copy Arizona's "papers please" law will now have to consider whether they are prepared to engage in legal battles that are certain to involve the federal government. In Arizona, after filling the streets of Phoenix with up to 100,000 protestors, local advocates are preparing for a new wave of activity on July 29th, when the law is scheduled to be implemented.

CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is a member of the Reform Immigration FOR America coalition and is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign is a coalition of more than 600 faith, labor, business, progressive, and immigration reform groups that have joined together to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. For more information please visit or


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