Baltimore Joins Cities And Counties Across The Country Asking Federal Court To Block Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Today, Baltimore’s Law Department joined an amicus curiae brief filed in Arizona urging a federal district court to block enforcement of the State of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law. The City joins cities and counties from around the nation in opposition to the law. The brief was filed in Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., a case brought by individuals, business, labor, social justice and religious organization seeking to have the law invalidated.

Baltimore is one of several local governments joining in this brief, including the Counties of Santa Clara, Monterey, and Los Angeles, California and the cities of Berkeley, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Haven, Palo Alto, Portland (OR), San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. The brief was filed in support of the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction that would prevent the law from taking effect while the court considers its constitutionality.

“The law passed in Arizona offends us and goes against everything that our great nation stands for,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Our country has accepted and welcomed immigrants of all colors, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds because that is what makes us great. Cities like Baltimore were built by generations of immigrants who thirsted for the freedom to build a prosperous life for themselves and their families. We cannot let fear tear down this country’s tradition of inclusion, liberty, and justice.”

In their brief, the local governments argue that Arizona’s SB 1070, slated to take effect on July 29th, is unconstitutional, impractical, costly, and deeply damaging to the relationships of trust law enforcement agencies have built with immigrant communities and the public at large.

“SB 1070 suggests, wrongly, that the enforcement of federal civil immigration law is the proper responsibility of local government officials, and that basic constitutional principles do not apply when those officials are investigating or enforcing immigration law,” the local governments argue in their brief. “That message will be heard not just in Arizona, but in every state in the country, making immigrants—whether they are naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, visa holders, or undocumented individuals—distrustful of local government and law enforcement officials.”

The local governments filing the brief provide essential services to local residents, including maintaining safe communities through the funding, operation, and oversight of local law enforcement agencies. They argue that Arizona’s law “imposes vague and unworkable requirements” on local law enforcement officers. As a structural matter, they say, Arizona’s law essentially requires officers to engage in racial profiling and other unconstitutional conduct, leading to serious repercussions for law enforcement relationships with people of color and long-term negative effects on the ability of local governments to protect their residents’ safety.

In ruling on the pending motion for preliminary injunction, a federal judge will consider whether to put Arizona’s SB 1070 on hold based on its effects on the people of Arizona, local and state governments in Arizona, and the public interest. Plaintiffs in the case are labor, business, domestic violence, human services, social justice, and religious organizations, as well as a class of individuals who will be subject to harassment or arrest under the law. The lawsuit names as defendants the Arizona County Attorneys and Sheriffs who are required to enforce SB 1070 if it is permitted to take effect on July 29, 2010. The State of Arizona has intervened to defend the law.

Related Stories

Baltimore City Hispanic Commission Applauds Governor O’Malley For His Leadership In Protecting Constitutional And Immigrant Rights

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore City Hispanic Commission thanked Governor O'Malley today for his leadership in maintaining the Constitutional rights of Baltimore residents by issuing an order directi

Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Latino Economic Development Center Announce Grand Opening Of New Satellite Office

BALTIMORE, MD (June 4, 2014) —Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Marla Bilonick, interim executive director for the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), to announce the opening of a

Baltimore City Health Department Releases Latino Health Report

The Baltimore City Health Department is releasing a new report, The Health of Latinos in Baltimore City, today.