Ariz. Immigration Lawsuit Targets Cop Training

A seventh challenge to Arizona's tough new immigration crackdown says training materials designed to teach police officers how to enforce the law give "vague and ill-defined factors" as reasons to question someone's legal status.

Officers aren't supposed to use a person's race to determine whether there's reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally.

But the lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court, says the training materials developed by state police bosses allow officers to rely on things like whether a person speaks poor English, looks nervous or is traveling in an overcrowded vehicle.

They can even take into account whether someone is wearing several layers of clothing in a hot climate, or hanging out in an area where illegal immigrants are known to look for work.

That will lead to "widespread" racial profiling of Hispanics, the lawsuit says.

The law, set to take effect July 29, already faces legal challenges from two police officers, other groups and the U.S. Justice Department, which says the law usurps the federal government's "pre-eminent authority" under the Constitution to regulate immigration.

The latest lawsuit's filers, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, expect it to be heard by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who is hearing the six other legal challenges. Bolton said this week that she is making no promises to rule on the lawsuits before the law takes effect.

The latest challenge also argues that immigrants who already are known to federal authorities and who have petitions to legalize their status will be subject to arrest because they don't have the specific documents the new law requires.

The enforcement guidelines being challenged were adopted by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and will be distributed to all 15,000 Arizona police officers.

Police departments will decide the best way to teach their forces. There is no requirement that all 15,000 Arizona police officers complete the training before the law takes effect.

The law requires police enforcing another law to ask people about their immigration status if there's a "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally.

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