PHOENIX (CN) – Training materials for police officers who will enforce Arizona’s new immigration law allow cops to consider a person’s clothing, ability to speak English, and “demeanor” to determine the person’s immigration status, the League of United Latin American Citizens claims in a federal class action.
LULAC claims that the training does not take into account “that numerous categories of immigrants who did not enter the United States lawfully nevertheless are eligible for legalization of status.”
The training material was developed by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
LULAC, the largest and oldest Latino civil rights group in the United States, says that Arizona’s training materials “seek to criminalize immigrants whose presence may be known to and accepted by the federal government while it adjudicates their legalization applications.”
That status would apply to applicants for political asylum. LULAC sued Gov. Jan Brewer and the State of Arizona.
The state law intends to force suspected undocumented aliens out of the state, though some of them may have claims to lawful status, based on fear of persecution, as victims of domestic violence, as victims of crime who are cooperating with law enforcement, or from their relationship to U.S. citizens, LULAC says.
The training materials fail to fully explain what a “public offense” is, or what classes of immigrants are “removable,” or not removable under federal law. The law makes no exception for undocumented aliens “whose removability has already been resolved by federal authorities, despite the fact that only the federal government can actually issue removal decisions,” and may result in the arrest of immigrants based on out-of-state crimes, even if they have already been resolved.
LULAC adds that the law’s requirement to detain a person until his or her immigration status has been verified will cause a major increase in the number of verification requests being issued to the Department of Homeland Security by local law enforcement officers, “necessitating reallocation of DHS resources away from its policy priorities.”
The federal government will be required to take time and resources away from “carefully considered enforcement priorities – dangerous aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety – to address the work that Arizona will now create for it.”
The law requires local police to enforce immigration laws and allows them to search vehicles without warrant if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the occupants don’t have immigration papers.
LULAC seeks declaratory judgment that its members “may not be detained, arrested, or prosecuted” for not registering or for seeking employment in Arizona. LULAC is represented by Peter Schey and Carlos Holguin with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, of Los Angeles, and by staff counsel Luis R. Vera Jr., of San Antonio.