Arizona Law Threatens Civil Liberties by Promoting Racial Profiling

Richmond, VA -- In response to a new Arizona law that encourages racial profiling, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and other ACLU state offices across the country are issuing alerts today informing travelers of their rights when stopped by Arizona law enforcement officials.
The new law, which the ACLU and other civil rights groups are challenging in court, requires law enforcement agents to demand "papers" from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S.  If individuals are unable to prove to officers that they are permitted to be in the U.S., they may be subject to arrest without any probable cause that they have committed a crime.
Based on well-documented studies of police behavior in Arizona and the state’s official “attrition through enforcement” anti-immigration policy, the ACLU believes that the new law will result in rampant targeting of individuals based on race.  Although the law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 29, the ACLU is concerned that Latinos and other people of color will be subjected to it immediately.
“Our main objective in issuing this travel alert is to protect Virginians who travel to Arizona from illegal harassment by law enforcement and to ensure that they know their rights should they encounter problems,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis.  “Virginia residents need to be aware that if they are in Arizona and they look ‘foreign,’ they are more likely to be stopped for a minor infraction, such as a burnt out tail light or jaywalking, and if so, they could be required to produce proof of citizenship or immigration papers.”
Available Documents:
The ACLU Travel Alert in English is available at:
The ACLU Travel Alert in Spanish is available at:
The card describing individuals’ rights when stopped by the police is available in English and Spanish at:
Materials informing individuals of their rights when stopped by law enforcement optimized for mobile devices is available at:
Additional details about the Arizona law, including an ACLU video and slide show, can be found at:
More information about the ACLU’s lawsuit, can be found at:

Contact: Kent Willis, Executive Director, 804-644-8022