American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU of Arizona)

Since its formation in 1959, the ACLU of Arizona has successfully challenged unconstitutional Arizona laws that targeted minorities. In 1960, it won a court case overturning a state law banning multi-racial marriages. It famously spearheaded the defense of laborer Ernesto Miranda, who was convicted of rape based solely on his police confession. (The case instituted the Miranda Warning that police must read before they interrogate criminal suspects.) In 2007, the ACLU launched and helped litigate a history-making federal class action lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio. In a 2013 ruling, a conservative federal judge ruled that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies engaged in racial profiling of Latinos in traffic stops that were part of thinly-disguised immigration patrols. The judge prevented Arpaio from enforcing immigration, and ordered a court monitor embedded in Arpaio’s office, with the goal of eliminating rampant unconstitutional policing.

The ACLU of Arizona has also successfully defended the free speech rights of day laborers. It won a federal case that struck down a state law denying bail to immigrants as unconstitutional. It was part of the legal team that challenged Arizona’s infamous “Papers Please” SB 1070, which required all Arizona law enforcement authorities to enforce immigration. Most of the law was dismantled and deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Currently, the ACLU is challenging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive order denying driver’s licenses to young immigrants with federal permission to stay in the United States via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The ACLU is also part of a legal team challenging an Arizona law that makes working with fake documents a deportable felony.

In 2013, the ACLU of Arizona and San Diego joined forces to launch a Tucson office focusing on a Border Litigation Project. “We saw a real need for legal support for constitutional violations along the border,” says communications director Steve Kilar. “Since the launch, we’ve become much more unified in our advocacy with all the Southwest border affiliates – Arizona, San Diego, New Mexico and Texas.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU of Arizona): acluaz.org
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): aclu.org