In an attempt to counter the effects of the Arizona law (SB 1070) known as “show me your papers”, the American Civil Liberties Union has announced that it is unveiling a smartphone app that will permit users to review the legal aspects of the immigration laws and policies in Arizona and report abuses, such as racial profiling.
When the United States Supreme Court decided on the constitutionality of the law, it struck down many of its provisions, but left intact one of its most controversial aspects – requiring police to inquire as to the immigration status of anyone they have stopped, provided they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person may be an illegal immigrant. The ACLU contends that the provision invites racial profiling, and protesters of the law have stated that it creates a new offense: guilty of being brown.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court did note, however, that this section of the law could be found to be in violation of the Constitution if it is improperly applied. What this means is that if it is shown that officers are, in fact, targeting minority groups when utilizing the section, there could be a potentially successful attack on the law down the road.
In an apparent effort to gather information on racial profiling which might be used as ammunition in the ACLU’s fight against the statute, and document instances of racial profiling, the organization has developed an app which it calls “United Against 1070.” It contains an interactive map, surveys on the issue, and a telephone hotline that is available to report abuses by officers.
In related news, as reported in our blog of May 27, 2013 (Racial Profiling Charge Upheld Against Arpaio, Sheriff’s Office), a federal judge last month upheld racial profiling charges leveled at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The decision specifically noted the violation of the rights of Latino drivers by way of racial profiling.
When you put all this together, it seems likely that at some point in the near future, there will be another challenge to what’s left of the immigration law, claiming that it is in fact unconstitutional, as applied.
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