08 July 2010

Arizona SB1070 Hits Court: Grantee Legal Momentum Joins Fight

As the restrictions on freedom created by Arizona's SB1070 immigration law become clear, including the potential effects on "women and familes subject to domestic abuse," we see signs of hope in the actions of our grantee partners. Legal Momentum is just one organization out of hundreds that is stepping up and speaking out for the rights of women and children in immigrant and undocumented communities. They have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a lawsuit filed in Arizona federal court by the ACLU and others that argues SB1070 "undermines federal civil rights protections for women and their families" who are subject to violence and sexual abuse.

Over the years the federal government has codified laws that protect immigrants and families from arrest and deportation when they seek to report violence or attempt to access programs or services that are necessary for survival, including shelter, emergency medical services, and victim assistance.

The lawsuit argues that SB1070 is a direct infringement on these federally protected rights. Under SB1070 women and families who seek federally protected support services and programs will be in constant fear of the random search by law enforcement that could lead to incarceration or even deportation. Furthermore, the law no longer ensures protection to victims of violence and abuse, but instead punishes victims, producing an environment where fear of persecution accompanies any attempt to report a crime. According to the Legal Momentum, "In their pursuit of detaining undocumented immigrants, Arizona law enforcement is even allowed to stake out rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, locations even federal law enforcement are strongly cautioned against operating in."

Luckily for these women and all of us, advocates like Legal Momentum are going to court to ensure that women, children, families, immigrants and undocumented people retain the rights they have been granted over years of legal precedent and federal law.

On July 6th the New York Times reported that the Justice Department has initiated legal proceedings against SB1070.

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