Media Contact

ACLU of Arizona,
Elizabeth Beresford, NILC,, 917-648-0189
Larry Gonzales, MALDEF,, 202-309-2182

October 5, 2015


PHOENIX—Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070, Valle del Sol v. Whiting, announced Monday that they will appeal part of the trial court’s summary judgment decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“While many aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law have been dismantled over the course of a 5-year legal battle, the most recent district court ruling left some of the law’s most shameful and discriminatory provisions intact,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), plaintiffs’ counsel in the suit. “We are confident that ruling will be overturned on appeal and will work alongside our courageous plaintiffs to move Arizona towards policies that are inclusive and humane—not fueled by hatred and racial animus.”

“Through this litigation, we have eliminated all the criminal provisions of SB 1070. As a result, Arizona is a safer place for people of color than it was when this law passed five years ago,” said Jorge Castillo, staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also represents the plaintiffs. “The appeal we file today will help to finish the job against a law that was a mistake from its inception.”

“All Arizonans, regardless of what they look like or language they speak, should be treated equally under the law,” said Salvador Reza, a representative of organizational plaintiff Tonatierra Community Development Institute. “No law based on discrimination and racial profiling should stand.”

“All communities—Asian, Latino, African-American—must unite to bring down this hateful law once and for all,” said plaintiff Jim Shee. “This appeal is another important step for people across the state to show that they will not stand for intolerance and hate.”

“SB 1070 was modeled on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s divisive, race-motivated policies,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, which also represents the plaintiffs. “Sheriff Arpaio’s practice of profiling Latinos was ruled unconstitutional years ago and Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ law is no different. SB 1070 inevitably leads to unconstitutional racial profiling and unreasonable seizures by police. Despite Gov. Ducey’s overtures to re-brand the state as an inclusive place, his continued defense of SB 1070 serves as a constant reminder that Arizona sanctions race-based policing.”

In September, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued an order permanently blocking SB 1070’s punitive and unconstitutional provisions that aimed to suppress the free speech rights of the day laborers who live and work in Arizona. Judge Bolton, however, let stand two of the laws most harmful provisions, Section 2(B), which requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person … is unlawfully present in the United States,” and Section 2(D), which authorizes police to transfer people to the custody of federal immigration officials.

In addition to Tonatierra and Shee, plaintiffs in the case include labor unions, community organizations, chambers of commerce and individuals.

In addition to the ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF, and NILC, plaintiffs’ counsel team includes the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Los Angeles, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Ortega Law Firm P.C., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP.