Arizona "show-your-papers" law begins

Police can carry out immigration checks on anyone who is stopped and suspected

By Natasha Lennard

Published September 20, 2012 5:17PM (EDT)

As of yesterday, police in Arizona are now authorized to perform immigration checks on any person they stop and suspect of being in the United States illegally. The controversial "show-your-papers" state law provision, upheld by the Supreme Court this summer, has enraged immigration activists who see the provision as opening a floodgate for racial profiling. A federal judge lifted an injunction on the provision this week.

As Reuters reported, the American Civil Liberties Union has set up a hotline where individuals questioned or detained under the law can call in. "[We'll] be looking very carefully to monitor for civil rights violations in the state," Karen Tumlin, managing attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, one of a coalition of groups that challenged the law, told Reuters.

Around 50 activists demonstrated outside ICE agency offices in Phoenix late Wednesday to protest the law going into effect. Undocumented activists are working to spread information and advice to fellow immigrants who are in the country illegally; some groups are advising undocumented individuals to leave any papers detailing their country of birth at home, and to give only their name and birthday to police if stopped.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Aclu Arizona Illegal Immigrants Immigration Jan Brewer Police Undocumented Immigrants