LA City Councilmembers urge city attorney to support Arizona lawsuit

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti urged the Los Angeles city attorney today to file legal papers in federal court in Phoenix to express support for a lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration law.

"Immediate action is needed for the city of Los Angeles to join in this lawsuit by filing an amicus brief,'' Garcetti said in a resolution that was also signed by Councilmen Ed Reyes, Richard Alarcon and Jose Huizar.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, together with a coalition of civil rights groups, on May 17 filed a class-action suit in federal court in Phoenix.

The plaintiffs allege Arizona's new immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, invites racial profiling, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.

Garcetti said the county of Santa Clara plans to file an amicus brief on behalf of counties, cities and local law enforcement agencies in support of the suit, arguing that involvement of local law enforcement agencies in upholding federal immigration law harms public safety by undermining trust
between policing agencies and immigrant communities, making it more difficult to investigate and prosecute crimes.

He urged his colleagues on the Los Angeles City Council to vote to direct the City Attorney's Office to file its own amicus brief opposing SB 1070.

On May 12, the council voted 13-1 — with Councilman Greig Smith dissenting — to approve an economic boycott of Arizona in hopes of pressuring the state into repealing SB 1070.

Also known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, SB 1070 makes it illegal to be in Arizona without proper documentation. It authorizes local law enforcement to investigate a person's immigration status whenever there is a reasonable suspicion that the individual is in the country illegally.

However, it bars solely using race, color, or national origin to question suspected illegal immigrants.