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Arizona, USA: Immigration law threatens human rights and should be repealed

Amnesty International is concerned that a sweeping new law to police migrants set to be introduced into the US state of Arizona will result in human rights violations, including racial profiling, arbitrary arrest and detentions.  

The law empowers police officers in Arizona to stop and interrogate any individual in the state regarding their citizenship status, and to hand over to the immigration authorities for possible prosecution, jail or deportation anyone who does not immediately present documents showing they are legally in the US.   

Amnesty is concerned that the law does not contain safeguards against "racial profiling" - the practice of stopping someone solely on the basis of their appearance, origin or nationality - which is discriminatory and a violation of fundamental rights.  It also increases the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and detention in the case of those who may not immediately be able to present the necessary papers.

The fundamental right to liberty and to freedom from arbitrary detention is a universal human right which applies to migrants regardless of their status, and is enshrined under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the USA has signed and ratified, as well as under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 16 of the Migrant Workers Convention.

Amnesty is calling for the legislation - signed by the state governor on 23 April - to be repealed and for national legislation on immigration to include strong human rights safeguards, including due process for non-US citizens in deportation proceedings and safeguards against arbitrary detention.

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