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Immigrant Supporters Ask Feds to Void New AZ Law

May 4, 2010

PHOENIX - A delegation of Arizona political, faith, human rights, business and labor leaders travels to Washington today for a meeting with Justice Department officials, urging them to invalidate Arizona's tough new immigration law. The group contends that the law violates the Constitution and encourages racial profiling by requiring police to question the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally.

Group member Kyrsten Sinema, who is the assistant minority leader in the Arizona state House, says the new law violates the U.S. Constitution in several places.

"There is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of our Bill of Rights, which is the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure."

Sinema says the law also violates due process, equal protection, the right to assemble and the Supremacy Clause, which says state laws cannot trump existing federal laws. Supporters of the new law contend it will survive a constitutional challenge because it specifically prohibits racial profiling.

The law was amended late last week to remove race as a consideration when officers decide to ask someone about his immigration status. But Sinema says the language remains ambiguous.

"The bill provided no guidance for law enforcement what could be considered. So, what we've been hearing since Thursday are things like shoes and shirts and accents, hair styles."

The delegation hopes that action by the Justice Department will not only block the Arizona law from taking effect in late July, but will also stop other states from considering similar legislation.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ