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Show you my papers? I’ll show you my app!

ACLUappAZ2The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU-AZ) has introduced an app called the ACLU AZ -STOP SB 1070, because they believe – and at least one judge has confirmed their conviction – that police are apt to racially profile Latinos in our fair state.

This mobile phone app informs users of their rights when stopped by law enforcement officers and allows them to report suspected racial profiling under the “show me your papers” provisions of SB 1070. It’s like carrying a bilingual immigration attorney inside your smartphone. Interactive map technology even documents the number of stops in specific areas. This high-tech, anti-discrimination protection is part of the ACLU’s “United Against 1070” campaign. ACLU-AZ partnered with app developer OpenWatch to create the device.

The Supreme Court struck down some provisions of the law, but left in place Section 2B, which requires the police to ask a person whom they have already stopped about their immigration status if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the individual may be undocumented. It was the Supreme Court’s decision to keep this provision that prompted the ACLU to create the app. “The law clearly invites racial profiling and other abuses that are unjust, un-American and unconstitutional,” reads a statement on the ACLU app page.

ACLU-AZ immigrant rights coordinator, Dulce Juarez, said that reporting breathing-while-brown stops and racial profiling applies across the board – to city police, U.S. Border Patrol and the state Department of Public Safety. “People were being stopped for bogus reasons such as cracked windshields or tail-lights,” she said. “We want police to know we are watching them and we are holding them accountable.”

Lest some be skeptical that abuse and unreasonable detainment actually happen, one court has already determined that systematic racial profiling of Latinos was practiced by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. A U.S. district court ruled in May that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies violated the rights of Latino drivers and workers by racially profiling them during sheriff’s raids searching for undocumented immigrants, and issued an injunction to halt the practice. Sheriff’s lawyers said they will appeal.

The app can be downloaded from the ACLU website at acluaz.org/UnitedAgainst1070

Click here to read this story in our Digital Edition

This Article appears on the August 2013 issue of LPM under LP Journal

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