Lawsuits Over AZ Immigration Law Filed By Police Officer, Latino Group

Posted by: BuellBoy

AP~Anger mounted Thursday over an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration as a police officer filed one of the first lawsuits challenging the law and activists gathered outside an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, chanting “Boycott Arizona.”

The lawsuit from 15-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar is one of two filed Thursday, less than a week after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law that’s sparked fears it will lead to racial profiling despite the governor’s vow that officers will be properly trained.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law, which requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

Escobar, an overnight patrol officer in a heavily Latino area of Tucson, argues there’s no way for officers to confirm people’s immigration status without impeding investigations, and that the new law violates numerous constitutional rights.

Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Escobar is acting on his own, not on behalf of the department.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders also filed a lawsuit Thursday, and is seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona’s law violates due process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they’re convicted.

“Mexican-Americans are not going to take this lying down,” singer Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson native, said at a state Capitol news conference on another lawsuit planned by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center.

At least three Arizona cities – Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson – are considering legal action to block the law. In Flagstaff, police are investigating a threatening e-mail sent to members of the city council over their opposition to the law. The author said council members should be “arrested, tried in court, found guilty of treason and hanged from the nearest tree!”

About 40 immigrant rights activists gathered outside Wrigley Field in Chicago Thursday as the Cubs open a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A small plane toting a banner criticizing the law circled the stadium, and activist George Lieu said they’ve sent a letter to Cubs management asking them to stop holding spring training in Arizona.

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Arizona Boycott Goes Viral As State’s Tourism Industry Tries to Fight Back

BNet.com/Barbara E. Hernandez~While Arizona tourism tries to resist the tidal wave of anti-Arizona sentiment triggered by the state’s passage of a tough new law that targets illegal immigrants, it may be a losing battle when stacked up against viral social media and negative word-of-mouth. Worse, the state looks to lose 3.8 million visitors a year from Mexico, whose citizens are now leery of police stops and harassment.

The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association set up its own Facebook page, called “Don’t Boycott AZ Tourism” most likely to battle the three other “Boycott Arizona” Facebook pages already in use, a petition site and a general Arizona-bashing. The Facebook page, which has the sub-headline of “Don’t punish 200k tourism employees for politics,” so far has 802 followers. The primary Boycott Arizona page has more than 11,000. That’s what the Arizona hospitality industry is up against — a very aggressive and antagonistic social media campaign oppposed to Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant laws.

So far it’s working. The American Immigration Lawyers Association notified JW Marriott in Scottsdale that it will cancel a 300-plus person event, saying, “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a meeting in (the) state.”

At the Arizona Inn in Tucson, 12 customers canceled reservations or said they wouldn’t come to the state because of the recent law.

“This is a very scary situation that the police can now just come up to you for no reason and ask for papers,” Joy Mann, a prospective guest who had previously stayed at the inn, wrote . . . in an e-mail message. “My son is a construction worker and is very suntanned. I cannot ask him to join us there now, as I would fear for him.”

The law may have even more consequences for international tourism. Visitors to Arizona spent $18.5 billion and supported about 167,000 jobs in 2008. Out of the 37 million visitors staying overnight, about 3.8 million came from Mexico, the largest single source of international visitors. The new anti-immigrant laws that may mean being pulled over by police and required to prove immigration status, will affect those visitors most. On Tuesday, Mexico issued a travel advisory for its citizens, telling them, “It must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time.”

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