Anticipating the brutal impact of Arizona's anti-immigration legislation on the state's immigrant women and families, Legal Momentum, the women's legal defense and education fund, announces its support for the just-announced legal challenges to SB 1070. Drawing upon decades of work to enhance immigrant women's personal and economic security, Legal Momentum will assist the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), and NILC (National Immigration Law Center), in their efforts to overturn the draconian legislation.
Yesterday, a coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging SB 1070. The extreme law, the coalition charged, invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.
Teaming with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, Legal Momentum's Immigrant Women Program will draw attention to the law's certain negative impacts on immigrant women and families through amicus briefs and legal assistance.
Irasema Garza, President of Legal Momentum, says, "Our country desperately needs comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will actually work for America. SB 1070, however, is an illustration of exactly what not to do.
"This law is a disaster for women, for families, and for the communities it purports to protect. Most unsettling is how the law increases immigrant women's vulnerability to violence, exploitation and sexual assault, and basically gives opportunistic perpetrators a free pass for their crimes – as long as they pick immigrant victims."
Even as amended, the law increases immigrant's women's vulnerability to abusive employers and spouses, discourages victims of violence and exploitation from reporting crimes to police, and erodes community safety by siphoning off valuable local crime-fighting resources to immigration enforcement.
In support of the Litigation Team (ACLU, MALDEF, NILC) spearheading legal challenges to the bill, Legal Momentum will submit amicus briefs, assist in identification of experts regarding the impact on immigrant victims (particularly domestic violence and sexual assault) and draw on the Immigrant Women Program's grassroots network to help identify plaintiffs and other immigrant women who would submit statements about the devastating impact of SB 1070.
On May 1st, Legal Momentum submitted a Letter to Members of Congress Urging Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and encouraged individuals to contact their representatives to support such measures.
For more on Legal Momentum's advocacy on issues confronting immigrant women, please see the following resources:
About Legal Momentum: Founded in 1970, Legal Momentum, the women's legal defense and education fund, is dedicated to advancing the rights and personal and economic security of all women and girls. www.legalmomentum.org