Currently there is a law in Arizona that denies bail to undocumented immigrants who have been arrested. Although this is a voter-approved law, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has recently pleaded with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down that law. The ACLU, along with immigration activists across the country, believes this “no bail” law is unconstitutional and unfairly targets Latino immigrants who are being detained in jail before they have even been convicted of a crime.
The “no bail” law was approved by Arizona voters in 2006. Its implementation was just one of many methods employed by law enforcement officials in that state designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering Arizona. This controversial law was proposed by Republican Rep. Russell Pearce and denies bail to undocumented workers who have been accused of specific felonies, including sexual assault, aggravated identity theft and murder. Pearce is also the representative who, in 2010, introduced the infamous SB 1070 bill, also known as the “Show Me Your Papers” bill.
According to Arizona state attorneys, the “no bail” law was enacted to protect the citizens of the state by improving public safety and preventing undocumented immigrants accused of crimes from fleeing the country. The ACLU, however, strengthened their argument against that bill by contending that there is no evidence proving that immigrants pose higher flight risks than U.S. citizens. The ACLU believes that as a result of this law, Latino detainees are being unfairly held while other groups of people are permitted to post bond before their trial. The ACLU plans to continue the fight to have this law in Arizona struck down, although Arizona is not the only state with laws like this: Missouri and Virginia have similar laws.