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ACLU launches PSA informing immigrants of their rights

Last week, we discussed the United States Supreme Court's decision regarding the controversial immigration law adopted first in Arizona and then in other states, including South Carolina. As we reported, the federal government challenged four main provisions of the law, and the Supreme Court struck down three of them.

However, the provision that was left to stand was the "show me your papers" section, which directs law enforcement officers to ask people for proof of their immigration status during any arrest (including traffic stops) if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally. A similar law was also adopted in South Carolina.

In response to the Court's decision, the American Civil Liberties Union recently released a public service announcement to inform immigrants of their constitutional rights during traffic stops and other encounters with law enforcement officers. The PSA was produced in both Spanish and English.

In the PSA, an ACLU Immigrants Rights Project attorney tells viewers that they "have the right not to be profiled or discriminated against" on the basis of their race or national origin. The attorney continues that anyone questioned by police also has the right to ask whether they are free to leave.

"If the officer says yes, then you should do so and walk away quietly. If the officer says no, then you have the right to ask why," the attorney advised.

The ACLU and many other legal rights groups have pledged to continue to fight the "show me your papers" provision by filing lawsuits that show the provision leads to racial profiling, which could warrant it unconstitutional. If you feel that your rights have been violated under the new law, contact an immigration attorney in your area.

Source: Fox News Latino, "ACLU Puts Out PSA on 'Show Me Your Papers'," Daniela Goncalves, July 2, 2012

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