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Amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States supporting an injunction against key provisions of Arizona SB 1070.


Lambda Legal joined a civil rights friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark case involving Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. In this case, Arizona is appealing the federal government’s challenge to the constitutionality of SB 1070. Arizona seeks review of an injunction against key provisions in SB 1070 granted the federal court in Arizona and affirmed by the federal court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit. SB 1070 creates a comprehensive immigration scheme expressly intended to discourage and deter immigrants from living in Arizona. It compels police officers to confirm the immigration status of people they encounter through routine traffic stops and other law enforcement activities. The law conflicts with the federal immigration system.

SB 1070 threatens members of the LGBT community, many of whom already experience, even at the hands of local officials, heightened hostility, harassment and violence based on appearance, mannerisms and other traits. For example, local authorities could use SB 1070 to investigate the immigration status of and detain those who may have federal permission to remain in the United States but lack immigration documentation, including some non-citizen members of bi-national same-sex couples and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. SB 1070 enables police to harass LGBT people and subject them to unwarranted detention. Such wrongful treatment often occurs at the hands of local officials who lack a basic understanding of either sexual orientation or gender identity. By forcing vulnerable populations deeper into the shadows, SB 1070 will also deter people from seeking medical care and lifesaving treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Lambda Legal also participated in another legal challenge to SB 1070, joining an amicus brief filed in 2010 in the case Friendly House v. Whiting.

    • March 2012 Lambda Legal joins amicus brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States, the federal government’s challenge to Arizona SB 1070.
    • June 2012 In a mixed ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down parts of SB 1070 that would have allowed Arizona to create its own system for immigration registration, impose criminal penalties on immigrants who are seeking work, and make warrantless arrests of immigrants based on possibility of removability. The Court lets stand the “show me your papers” provision, but leaves the door open for advocates to challenge this bad part of the law by showing that it discriminates and harms people.