Legal Cases Start Against Arizona Immigration Law

The legal phase of the highly controversial Arizona immigration law has now started.

An Arizona police officer and a Latino group filed the first legal challenges of Arizona’s sweeping new law cracking down on illegal immigration Thursday.

Fifteen-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar argues there’s no way for officers to confirm people’s immigration status without impeding investigations. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tucson, alleges the new immigration law violates numerous constitutional rights and could hinder police investigations.

Escobar is an overnight patrol officer in a heavily Latino area of Tucson. His lawsuit requests an injunction preventing officers from stopping suspected illegal immigrants and questioning or detaining them.

Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Escobar is acting on his own, not on behalf of the department.

A Latino Clergy group also sued Thursday in federal court in Phoenix. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders will seek an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law.

The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona’s law violates due process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they’re convicted.

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