HNBA Joins as Amicus Curiae to Challenge Arizona Senate Bill 1070

June 17, 2010

Washington, D.C. – The Hispanic National Bar Association (“HNBA”), the national voice of the Hispanic legal community, announces that it has joined the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association of Arizona, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as amici curiae in support of a motion for a preliminary injunction against Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) filed by plaintiffs in that matter. The amici brief was prepared by LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

On May 17, 2010, the plaintiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON), and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the Arizona law.

In their brief, the amici including the HNBA, ask the federal court to stop the law’s implementation, and argue that the new law will result in service providers being unable to provide essential services for fear of persecution, and Latino immigrants – regardless of status – will be deprived of essential benefits. Signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010, SB 1070 requires police to demand documentation from people they “reasonably suspect” are unlawfully present in the United States. “The HNBA and our Arizona affiliate organization, Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association of Arizona, fear that if SB 1070 is implemented, it will inhibit attorneys, who practice in Arizona, from fully serving clients and vindicating their rights through our legal system – everyday legal hearings and cases will be delayed, held in abeyance and/or left unprosecuted,” said Román D. Hernández, HNBA National President.

While it is a voluntary, national bar association and not a civil rights organization, the HNBA also serves as the voice of the broader Hispanic community on issues that significantly impact the interactions of Hispanics and the legal system. As such, the HNBA has particular interest in the equal opportunity of Hispanics to be free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, including in the State of Arizona. “As a national membership organization comprised of attorneys in every sector of the legal profession, the HNBA joins as amicus curiae to support the legal challenge to Arizona’s law,” further stated Mr. Hernández.

The HNBA spoke out against the then-proposed law back in early April 2010, citing grave concerns regarding the constitutionality of the legislation. After it was signed into law, the HNBA joined other national organizations to call for an economic boycott of the State of Arizona.