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Latino Daily News

Thursday December 23, 2010

All Eyes on Arizona as it Implements New Immigration Law

As Arizona’s controversial immigration law takes effect next month, organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) say they will be keeping an eye out for any sort of mistreatment or racial profiling of immigrants questioned by police, and will not hesitate to immediately sue if it occurs.

According to the new law, if an officer stops, arrests, or detains someone, and there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally, the officer is to ask for proof of legal residency.

Anticipating racial profiling and other questionable actions by Arizona’s officers, LULAC, the ACLU, and the National Council of La Raza, have vowed to keep a watchful eye on the state.

Examples of “reasonable suspicion” can be reached upon seeing one of the following:

• A person wearing many layers of clothing on a hot day in Phoenix could indicate he just crossed the border in the desert, where it gets very cold at night, Acosta said.

• A person acting nervously and avoiding eye contact during a simple traffic offense.

• Children present in a house under a search warrant who are not going to school and are not related to the adults in the house.

• A person who inexplicably runs when an officer approaches a gathering of day laborers.

“Individuals in the country legally are not going to be afraid of a law enforcement officer approaching,” said Hipolito Acosta, who used to oversee the Immigration and Naturalization Service for Latin America, but is now helping Arizona develop its training program.