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Friday, 16 July 2010

Arizona policeman challenges new state immigration law

An Arizona policeman has asked a federal court to overturn a state immigration law he says will force him to use racial profiling.

The law requires police to question people about their immigration status if officers suspect the person is in the US illegally and if they have stopped them for a legitimate reason.

Officer David Salgado says the law would force him to break federal laws.

The case is one of many challenging the measure, which takes effect on 29 July.

The Obama administration's justice department has also challenged the legislation in federal court, arguing it usurps the federal administration's authority to set immigration policy.

The next hearing in that case is scheduled for 22 July.

Civil rights
Mr Salgado, a Phoenix police officer, said he did not intend to question people he stops about their immigration status because he believes he does not have the legal authority to do so, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
"If he refuses to enforce the act, he can be disciplined by his employer or subjected to costly private enforcement actions under the act," the lawsuit says, according to the newspaper.

"Conversely, if he enforces the act, he can be subjected to costly civil actions alleging the deprivation of civil rights of the individual against whom he enforces the act."

The law has also been challenged by the governments of Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico.

BBC News