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Making Sense of the Arizona SB 1070 Lawsuits

Arizona faces seven legal challenges to its SB immigration law — which is part of why the state needs the $3.6 million in donations it has pulled in to defend the law. The suits mostly have the same messages, alleging SB 1070 usurps federal immigration authority and could lead to racial profiling. They were filed between when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law April 23 and July 29, when the law went into effect with some of its controversial provisions blocked by a federal judge. The plaintiffs include individuals, police officers, civil rights and community groups, churches, business groups, entire cities and, of course, the Justice Department.

It can all get confusing. So here’s a brief rundown of the lawsuits against SB 1070 and their current status:

  • The United States v. State of Arizona. The Justice Department filed a suit July 6 alleging SB 1070 preempts federal authority to enforce immigration. Federal Judge Susan Bolton blocked its most controversial provisions on July 28, just before the law went into effect. An appeals court in San Francisco will hear the case the week of Nov. 1.
  • Escobar v. Brewer. Martin Escobar, a naturalized U.S. citizen and police officer from Tuscon, Ariz., filed a lawsuit April 29 alleging SB 1070 would violate the civil rights of Latinos. His case was dismissed Tuesday by Bolton.

However, the city of Tuscon was also a plaintiff in the case, and its case is still pending. Bolton gave the city two weeks to file a written argument convincing her not to dismiss its claim that SB 1070 imposes a financial burden on the city.

  • **Frisancho v. Brewer. **Roberto Frisancho, a resident of Washington, filed a suit April 27 arguing he could be racially profiled during an upcoming trip to Arizona. Bolton dismissed his claim Aug. 24.

-** Saldago v. Brewer.** David Saldago, an Arizona police officer, joined with non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa to file a suit April 29 against Brewer, arguing SB 1070 preempts federal law and would require him to violate the constitutional rights of others. Saldago’s lawsuit is still pending.

  • **LULAC v. Arizona. **The League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit July 9 claiming SB 1070 would lead to racial profiling by police officers. The suit is still pending.
  • Friendly House et al. v. Whiting. A coalition of community service, labor, business and religious organizations, along with several individuals, filed a suit May 17. Bolton has yet to hear the case.
  • **National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders v. State of Arizona. **Non-profits joined with churches and individuals to file a suit April 29 on behalf of “all persons who currently reside in Arizona and find themselves to be negatively affected by the proposed unconstitutional law.” The law is pending.

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