PHOENIX, AZ - On Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. (MST), MALDEF, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) will hold a news conference on the House lawn of the State Capitol Grounds in Phoenix, Arizona to announce that they are preparing to challenge Arizona's extreme new law, which requires law enforcement to question people about their immigration status during everyday police encounters and criminalizes immigrants for failing to carry their "papers." The unconstitutional law, the groups say, encourages racial profiling, endangers public safety and betrays American values.
Speakers will include Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel; Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America; Richard Chavez, civil rights leader; Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and multi-Grammy winning artist and human rights advocate, Linda Ronstadt.
Fifteen years ago, the same three civil rights groups successfully challenged Proposition 187 in the state of California, where a voter-approved initiative required proof of legal status to access virtually all public services. The enactment of Prop 187, as it was commonly referred, tore apart schools and communities across the state as fear and suspicion became pervasive, and the state wasted tens of millions of dollars defending a law ultimately struck down as unconstitutional.