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Monday, April 7, 2014

ACLU uses profiling charges against police to target Arizona’s illegal immigrant law -- By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

In a coordinated legal blitz against one of the nation's toughest anti-immigration statutes, the ACLU of Arizona last week accused the Tucson Police Department of violating protections included in the law, arguing that officers last year conducted an illegal stop of two men sitting in a van just because they were Hispanic.

It's the second such charge lodged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is trying to build a case that the state's immigration law, known as SB 1070 and upheld in principle by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, is being applied in an unconstitutional manner.

In the latest case, the ACLU says Tucson police followed then stopped two men in a van. The ACLU says police demanded to know where the two men were from, accused them of being from Mexico and, after holding them for 30 minutes at the spot, turned them over to U.S. Border Patrol.

"This is racial profiling, pure and simple," said Christine P. Sun, an ACLU attorney.

The Tucson Police Department acknowledged that the ACLU had filed the complaint, but neither the police department nor the city attorney could comment, citing potential litigation.

The Supreme Court two years ago struck down much of the Arizona immigration law, finding that the state was infringing on Congress' power by trying to impose its own penalties on those who violated federal immigration laws.

Justices did approve the part of the law that allowed police to determine the legal status of those with whom they came into contact during their regular duties and who they had reasonable suspicion to believe were in the country illegally, and as long as the stop didn't take too long.

But the court left open the question of whether residents could challenge that part of the law if police were found to be abusing it.

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