Monday, July 16, 2012
In Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld Section 2(B) of S.B. 1070, which requires state and local police in Arizona to verify the immigration status of persons about whom they have a "reasonable suspicion" are undocumented. In so doing, the Court left for another day the claims of immigrant and civil rights advocates that Section 2(B) would result in racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona.
In response to the Supreme Court decision, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MSCO) said that the decision would not change anything that his office was doing to enforce the U.S. immigration laws. This statement is somewhat troubling if the allegations of the U.S. Department of Justice in a lawsuit filed in May alleging rampant discrimination by the MCSO against Latinos are true.
We might soon get an indication of the evidence of racial profiling by Sheriff Arpaio and his office. As an editorial in the New York Times stated today,
"The trial in Melendres v. Arpaio, a class-action civil-rights lawsuit, is scheduled to begin Thursday in Federal District Court in Phoenix. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, accuse the sheriff of waging an all-out, unlawful campaign of discrimination and harassment against Latinos and those who look like them."
Racial profiling is difficult to prove and we will keep you apprised of developments in the trial. Wouln't it be a kick to see Sheriff Arpaio testify? Stay tuned!
For a thoughtful analysis of the case, listen to this story on the Phoenix, Arizona NPR affiliate.