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Arizona immigrants craft response to 'show me your papers' law

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A coalition of civil rights groups is awaiting a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on their latest effort to prevent the questioning requirement from taking effect.

A hotline operated by civil rights advocates recently has been fielding calls from people wanting to know what their rights are if officers question their immigration status.

Lydia Guzman, leader of the civil rights group Respect-Respeto, said additional volunteers are being sought to answer calls and document reports of abuses. If a police agency plans a special immigration patrol, volunteers armed with video cameras will be sent there to capture footage of traffic stops, Guzman said.

Arizona lawmakers passed the law in 2010 amid voter frustration with the state's role as the busiest illegal entry point in the country. Five states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — have adopted variations on Arizona's law.

It's a tool for local police, but it won't cure the state's immigration woes, said Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the measure.

"Only the federal government has the resources and responsibility necessary to achieve that," Brewer said.

The law's opponents are spreading out across the state, asking police departments not to enforce the provision. The incentive they offer: better cooperation from immigrants who would be more likely to report crimes, said Carlos Garcia, an organizer with immigrant rights group the Puente Movement.

Not enforcing the provision could open up officers to lawsuits from people claiming the agencies aren't fully enforcing the law.

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