Rights groups to challenge Arizona immigration law
Phoenix: Civil rights groups said on Thursday they would mount a legal challenge to Arizona's new immigration law, which critics say enshrines racial profiling in the border state.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican American Legal Defence and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Immigration Law Centre (NILC) announced the challenge in front of Arizona's state capitol.
MALDEF president Thomas Saenz told a news conference "a vigorous and sophisticated" legal challenge would seek to "prevent this unconstitutional and discriminatory law from ever taking effect."
The law, signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer last Friday, allows police to question anyone they believe may be an illegal immigrant, even if they are not suspected of committing a crime.
"This law will only make the rampant racial profiling of Latinos that is already going on in Arizona much worse," said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona.
"If this law were implemented, citizens would effectively have to carry 'their papers' at all times to avoid arrest.”
"It is a low point in modern America when a state law requires police to demand documents from people on the street."
Grammy-winning singer Linda Ronstadt, who was born in Tucson, also lent her support to the campaign, describing the immigration law as "legislation that threatens the very heart of this great state”.
The law has unleashed anger on both sides of the US-Mexican border, with US lawmakers calling for an economic boycott of Arizona and a Mexican airline warning that it may cancel more flights to the state.