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The ACLU of Nevada alerts Nevada residents to potential threats to the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individuals planning to travel or stay in Arizona.

On April 23, 2010, Arizona enacted a state racial profiling law, SB 1070, that has generated fear and confusion among the public about the treatment and rights of Americans in the State of Arizona. Although the law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 29, the ACLU of Nevada is concerned that some law enforcement officers are already beginning to act on provisions of the law. Moreover, there has been a history of rampant racial profiling by law enforcement in Arizona, especially in Maricopa County, as well as a stated anti-immigrant policy of “attrition through enforcement” by Arizona lawmakers that creates a hostile environment for Latinos and other people of color.

The law will require police officers to demand papers proving U.S. citizenship or immigration status from any individual whom they stop, detain, or arrest, based on an undefined “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is in the country unlawfully. It invites discrimination against and pretextual stops and arrests of Latinos, other racial minorities, and individuals believed to look or sound “foreign,” based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin. The law expressly provides that even suspected infractions of city or town ordinances – such as jaywalking, excessive noise, or having an overgrown or untidy lawn – can and should lead to immigration questioning. If individuals are unable to prove to the police officer that they are permitted to be in the United States, they may be subject to warrantless arrest without any probable cause that they have committed a crime.

The increased risk that individuals and motorists will be stopped, questioned, detained, and arrested because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin makes it imperative that Nevada residents understand their rights when encountering law enforcement authorities in Arizona. The ACLU has therefore prepared an informational card for the public entitled, “What to Do if You’re Stopped by Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI.” While the card provides information that applies throughout the United States in any encounter with law enforcement officials, Nevada residents are particularly advised to download and read this card before traveling to Arizona. Any Nevada resident traveling to Arizona should keep in mind that:

  • All persons within the boundaries of the United States, regardless of immigration status, are protected by the U.S. Constitution.
  • Racial and ethnic profiling is illegal. An officer cannot stop you because of physical features or English ability. The officer must be able to articulate a reason for a “lawful stop or detention.”  


- ACLU of Nevada Press Release (PDF): As Holiday Weekend Approaches, ACLU of Nevada Issues Alert To State Residents Traveling To Arizona
- Know Your Rights (PDF): What to Do if You’re Stopped by Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI
- What Happens In Arizona Stops In Arizona: ACLU of Nevada To Challenge Effort To Bring “Show Me Your Papers” Law To Nevada


- Alerta de Prensa de la ACLU (PDF):Se aproxima el fin de semana feriado, y la ACLU del estado de Nevada difunde alerta a residentes del estado que viajen a Arizona
- Conozca sus Derechos (PDF): Qué debe hacer si la policía, agentes de inmigración o el FBI lo detienen
-Lo que Pasa en Arizona Pára en Arizona (PDF): La ACLU de Nevada Desafía los Esfuerzos para traer la ley de “muéstrame sus papeles” hacia Nevada