SoCal ACLU Issues Arizona Travel Advisory - NBC 7 San Diego

SoCal ACLU Issues Arizona Travel Advisory

The advisory includes a downloadable Know Your Rights brochure and other information for tourists



    SoCal ACLU Issues Arizona Travel Advisory
    ** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, DEC. 31 **A National Guard soldier peers over the vast Otay Mountain Valley as he assists the Border Patrol infrared scope unit as agents search the area for smugglers in San Diego Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006. The unit directs other agents in the area when they sight smugglers bringing illegal immigrants into the country. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

    The wording of Arizona's immigration law might not be enough to protect all visitors, according to a travel advisory issued Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern  California.

    The travel advisory says the state's law cracking down on illegal immigration could lead to  problems for some tourists. Officials said they are concerned some law enforcement officers may already be  acting on provisions of the law.

    Arizona's law (Full Text), which is expected to take effect July 29, gives law  enforcement personnel the power to check the immigration status of suspects  they have stopped for other reasons, if there is a reasonable suspicion they  are in the country illegally. It specifically bars law enforcement from racial  profiling.

    But that language in the law may not protect visitors, ACLU officials said.

    "California residents need to know their rights and the dangers of  traveling to Arizona before setting foot there," said Hector Villagra, legal  director of the ACLU/SC. "This disturbing new law makes it much more likely  that a police officer will demand a person deemed 'foreign' to present 'papers'  for the smallest of infractions, as simple as a broken tail-light or  jaywalking."

    According to the travel advisory, Arizona officials have worked to  create an environment hostile to Latinos and other people of color to encourage  them to leave the state.

    A post on the ACLU/SC site details the advisory and includes a .pdf download of the organization's Know Your Rights brochure. The materials include a downloadable card with  instructions, applicable in any state, on coping with vehicle stops and  questioning by police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or the FBI.

    "Our goal is the protect Californians from illegal harassment by law  enforcement," Villagra said. "California is a state with deep immigrant roots  and a rich history. We are not all one color or one creed. Many of us fit a  racial profile that police in Arizona will inevitably use to enforce an extreme  and discriminatory law.

    "That's why every Californian should know that under Arizona's  misguided laws, they will likely experience racial profiling and unlawful  detention."

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has repeatedly defended the law, insisting that  racial profiling will not be tolerated in the state. In a statement last week,  she specifically said the state was safe for tourists and noted that  "Arizona's immigration enforcement laws are both reasonable and  constitutional."

    "They mirror what has been federal law in the United States for many  decades, and they have built-in and clear protections for civil rights,"  Brewer said. "Arizonans are some of the most hospitable and generous  people in the world, and we welcome visitors to share our incomparable natural  beauty. Our cultures and our trade are intertwined, and so must be our respect  for the rule of law."