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Rights groups file lawsuit over Arizona illegal workers law

[JURIST] The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund [advocacy website] and other civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in federal court [complaint, PDF; ACLU press release] Tuesday against the state of Arizona claiming that the Legal Arizona Workers Act [AZ HB 2779 materials] is unconstitutional and could lead to discrimination against minorities, especially Latinos. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Chicanos Por La Causa and Somos America [advocacy websites], alleges that the new law, which requires that businesses check their employees' employment eligibility with a federal database or risk having their business license revoked, violates both the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process and federal immigration law that makes use of the database voluntary.

When Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the legislation [JURIST report] in July, she called the law "the most aggressive action in the country against employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers." Meanwhile, in Mexico over the weekend, Mexican President Felipe Calderon denounced US immigration policies during his first state of the union address [text; JURIST report], promising to fight for the rights of Mexicans living in the US and protesting the "unilateral measures" taken by the US to make "the persecution and humiliating treatment of undocumented Mexican workers worse." Calderon also insisted that Mexico will continue to advocate comprehensive immigration reform [JURIST news archive] that is favorable to Mexico and will continue to "categorically" oppose the construction of a 700-mile fence [JURIST news archive] on the US-Mexico border. The East Valley Tribune has more.

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