Photo: Utah Sued for Immigration Law
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen filed a class action lawsuit today charging that Utah’s recently passed law, HB 497, like Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer and interferes with federal law.
“America is not a ‘show me your papers’ country. No one should be subject to investigation, detention and arrest without any suspicion of criminal activity,” said Cecillia Wang, managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Utah’s law violates the Constitution and we are confident that we will prevent it from taking effect.”
The lawsuit charges that the Utah law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully discriminating against certain lawful immigrants as well as people in Utah without approved identify documents; and violates the Utah state constitutional guarantee of uniform operation of the laws.
Several prominent law enforcement officials, including Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, oppose the law because it undermines trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities. Burbank and other officers have expressed concerns that the law diverts limited resources away from law enforcement’s primary responsibility to provide protection and promote public safety in the community.
The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice and business organizations, including Utah Coalition of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Workers’ United Rocky Mountain Joint Board, Centro Civico Mexicano, Coalition of Utah Progressives, individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law and a class of similarly situated people.