ACLU/SC Testifies Against Arizona Racial Profiling Law

June 1, 2010 12:00 am

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The ACLU of Southern California’s Chief Counsel, Mark Rosenbaum, will testify before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on the unconstitutionality of Arizona’s AB 1070. The board is set to vote today on whether to support a boycott of Arizona in response to the new law requiring that police demand “papers” from people they stop and suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S.

The ACLU of Southern California does not take a stand on the boycott but supports every American’s right to take a principled position as a matter of conscience. The ACLU has voiced vehement opposition to the law and with a coalition of civil rights groups is challenging the extreme law, charging it invites racial profiling, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.

The ACLU/SC has a long history of fighting such discriminatory laws and policies in Southern California. In Los Angeles, the ACLU/SC successfully fought off challenges to the LAPD’s Special Order 40, which prohibits police officers from using immigration status to initiate investigations. And it was Mr. Rosenbaum’s arguments before the U.S. District Court and his aid in negotiations with then Gov. Gray Davis that helped seal the demise of Proposition 187, a 1994 California voter-backed ballot measure that prohibited undocumented immigrants from accessing education, health care and social services.

The following statement can be attributed to Mr. Rosenbaum:

“The linchpin of this policy and scheme is the requirement, now carved into Arizona state law, that job one of local police is to investigate and determine who may remain in the United States and to make unlawful immigration status and alien registration a matter of state criminal law. This is a system which trades on racial stereotypes, turning skin color, accent and ethnicity of neighborhood into presumptive indicia of criminal conduct under state law, rather than evidence of the rich and nourishing diversity of our American experiment we know them to be. It foments racial antagonisms this board has sought so successfully to remove from our community.”

For the complete prepared text of Mr. Rosenbaum’s testimony before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, please contact Rachel Uranga at (213) 977-5252.

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