NAACP Joins Legal Challenge To Arizona Racial Profiling Law

Nation's largest civil rights organization will not host any events in the state; Calls for direct action against the law and will urge MLB to move 2011 All Star Game

The NAACP in coalition with other civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit today challenging Arizona's new law requiring police to demand "papers" from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S. If an individual is caught without papers they can be arrested and jailed. The extreme law, the coalition charged, invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.

"We are joining this lawsuit because the Arizona law is out of step with American values of fairness and equality. It encourages racial profiling and is unconstitutional. African-Americans know all too well the insidious effects of racial profiling," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP. "The government should be preventing police from investigating and detaining people based on color and accent, not mandating it. Laws that encourage discrimination have no place in this country anywhere for anyone." "Subjecting human beings to discrimination and punishment based upon race and accent is morally offensive, unconstitutional and un-American, said Wilbert Nelson, the president of the NAACP Arizona state conference "We will fight vigorously to make sure this poisonous law never takes effect. It is part of a menacing return to racial discrimination and the beginning of a slippery slope. Right after this hate law was passed, a statute banning the ethnic studies in our school was passed. "