• Press Release

USA: Amnesty International welcomes Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona

March 27, 2011


July 6, 2010

As the U.S. Department of Justice announced its lawsuit against the state of Arizona on the grounds that SB 1070 interferes with federal authority, Lory Rosenberg, Policy and Advocacy Director for Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

“Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of Justice to file a lawsuit against Arizona on the grounds that SB 1070, the state’s draconian new immigration law, infringes on federal territory. The Arizona state law makes failing to carry proof of lawful immigration status a crime and requires state police officers to arrest and prosecute those who appear to be in the country unlawfully.

“It is widely agreed that the Arizona law cannot be implemented without racial profiling. In fact, its enforcement depends on racial profiling. This lawsuit signals that the U.S. will not run roughshod over immigrant rights simply because someone is brown or in the wrong place at the wrong time. When discrimination is enshrined in law and the law is used to target individuals based on their nationality or ethnicity, it unquestionably violates fundamental human rights.

“SB 1070’s flaws go far beyond the obvious scourge of racial profiling. Not only will the law divert law enforcement officials’ attention from combating dangerous crime, it will also erode communication between communities of color and the police who are supposed to keep them safe.

“With SB 1070, Arizona treads impermissibly on the U.S. Constitution, violating human rights and international treaty standards, and interferes with federal authority to make and enforce immigration law. By signing SB1070 into law, Governor Brewer has abdicated her responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of every individual in Arizona, regardless of citizenship, and her actions hamper the lawful enforcement of federal immigration laws.

“AIUSA recognizes the province of the federal government to regulate immigration. As President Obama has noted, while the current immigration system is in need of reform, “no law-abiding person – be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor, a tourist from Mexico- should ever be suspect to suspicion simply because of what they look like.”

“AIUSA calls on the U.S. Congress to craft a fair and humane immigration policy that: provides a formal process through which undocumented people can obtain legal status; reforms immigration policies that unnecessarily separate families; fully guarantees immigrant workers’ labor rights; restores immigration enforcement responsibilities exclusively to federal authorities’ and terminates unconstitutional state and local law enforcement programs and state laws purporting to enforce immigration standards.