[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging Utah’s controversial immigration law [HB 497 materials; JURIST news archive]. The bill, which has been compared to the Arizona immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive], was signed into law [JURIST report] in March by Governor Gary Herbert [official website] and requires police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor. The lawsuit claims that the law unconstitutionally interferes with federal powers over immigration enforcement and violates the Fourth Amendment search and seizure provision and the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution. According to the complaint:
If allowed to take effect, HB 497 will significantly harm Utahans, particularly Utahans of color. According to law enforcement officials in Utah and elsewhere, HB 497 will cause widespread racial profiling and will subject many persons of colorincluding countless U.S. citizens and non-citizens who have federal permission to remain in the United Statesto unlawful interrogations, searches, seizures, and arrests. People of color in the state will be compelled to carry additional paperwork on them at all times in order to prove to law enforcement officials that their presence in the country is approved by the federal government.
The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Utah on behalf of several 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, and Coalition of Utah Progressives.
Several other state legislatures have also acted recently to implement so-called “Arizona style” immigration laws. Last month, the Indiana House of Representatives [official website] approved legislation [JURIST report] to revoke tax credits from businesses that hire illegal immigrants and require the use of the E-verify System [official website] to check the eligibility status of employees. Also in April, the Georgia General Assembly [official website] approved a bill requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they have probable cause to believe has committed a criminal offense and requiring businesses to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential employees. Similar legislation has also been approved in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma [JURIST reports]. Arizona’s law is currently enjoined, pending a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
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