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First Suit Filed Over Ariz. Immigrant Law
Thursday, 29-Apr-2010 4:14PM United Press International
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PHOENIX, April 29 (UPI) -- A clergy group says it filed the first lawsuit challenging Arizona's controversial law requiring police to check people's immigration status.

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The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders announced it filed the suit Thursday in Phoenix federal court, alleging the law interferes with the federal government's enforcement of immigration laws.

The action seeks an injunction that would block the law from taking effect.

"The national clergy felt it was time to move immediately", attorney Ben Miranda said outside the courthouse. "There's a need to calm fears that are out there."

The suit is expected to be followed quickly by challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights organizations, the Los Angeles Times said. The question of jurisdiction and questions about equal protection will likely be the grounds, the newspaper predicted.

The Arizona statute signed last week by Gov. Jan Brewer requires city police officers to check out a person's immigration status if they have reason to believe they are in the United States illegally. Critics say it will give police free reign to stop Latinos on the street even if they aren't suspected of some other crime. Supporters say the law is needed because Arizona has been overrun with illegal immigrants and Washington has done little to stem the tide.

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