VICTORY FOR FIRST AMENDMENT: NINTH CIRCUIT BLOCKS ANTI-DAY LABOR, ANTI-SPEECH PROVISIONS ON SB 1070
Ruling is another setback for anti-immigrant laws
PHOENIX, AZ - Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the provisions of SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant racial profiling law, that seek to criminalize the solicitation of day labor work, should remain blocked. The court held that the provisions likely violate day laborers’ First Amendment free speech right to solicit work on public streets.
Today’s opinion reaffirms that the freedom to speak in seeking work is a constitutionally protected right. The decision also recognizes that the explicit intent of the anti-day labor provisions of SB 1070 is to drive immigrants from the state of Arizona – not, as the state had argued in court, to preserve traffic safety.
In response to the victory, Victor Viramontes, MALDEF National Senior Counsel, who argued the case before the court stated, “Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vindicated the rights of day laborers to peacefully solicit work, and confirmed that Arizona’s illegal attempt to mute them should be blocked. Courts will not tolerate laws banning day labor solicitation, and other jurisdictions considering similar laws should take note of this important ruling, which establishes legal precedent for the western United States.”
Omar Jadwat, supervising attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “With today’s ruling, Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 law has suffered yet another major defeat in the courts. While Arizona has been spinning its wheels in a vain attempt to defend its fundamentally unconstitutional anti-immigrant law, the rest of the country has moved on, with legislators coming together across party lines to build a common-sense immigration system that benefits us all.
“Today's news reaffirms that Arizona's 'solution' really just brings its residents costly legal problems,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center. “Rather than defend laws that judge people by how they look, the Arizona's elected officials should join some of their colleagues in Arizona and in Washington, DC by advocating for commonsense solutions to fix our outdated immigration process.”
“Arizona's SB1070 is not just an attack on immigrants and day laborers, it is an assault on cherished constitutional rights, including the right to free speech,” said Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. He continued, "Once again, day laborers have done work for Arizona and for the country by defending our Constitution. We will not stop until SB 1070 is completely erased from the books and until civil rights are fully respected in Arizona.”
“We have always known that the criminalization of day labor is immoral, unjust, and a violation of human rights. Today, it should be very clear that the Constitution forbids such criminalization too,” stated Salvador Reza of Tonatierra, a plaintiff organization in the litigation.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys include a coalition of civil rights organizations that have an established a tradition of fighting to protect first amendment rights for all members of society and have been at the forefront of the battle to challenge all of the discriminatory and unconstitutional provisions in SB 1070.
MALDEF, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), ACLU, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian American Justice Center, and Asian Pacific American Legal Center, represent labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human services and social justice organizations, including Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU Local 5, United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), Arizona South Asians for Safe Families (ASAFSF), Southside Presbyterian Church, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, Border Action Network, Tonatierra Community Development Institute, Muslim American Society, Japanese American Citizens League, Valle de Sol, Inc. and Coalicion de Derechos Humanos. Law firms Ortega law Firm, P.C., as well as Munger, Tolles and Olson and Altshuler Berzon LLP also provided support.
Click here to access the order.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.