The Village Voice parent Village Voice Media is taking activism beyond the editorial page by underwriting a challenge to Arizona’s tough new immigration law.
In a note to readers in the Phoenix New Times, VVM executive editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin, outspoken critics of the law, said their company would supply cash for an Arizona ACLU challenge to the law and two other immigration lawsuits.
“Because the state has usurped federal authority over immigration, the legislation is open to a constitutional challenge,” wrote Lacey, an Arizona resident. He went on:
More troubling is the fact that racial profiling is the very foundation of Senate Bill 1070. The Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits selective enforcement based upon race. All Hispanics, no matter their citizenship, will be subjected to a police state that applies to no one else. No one else at all.
Driving While Brown now joins Driving While Black — not simply in the vernacular of human beings targeted because of skin color by law enforcement but also in the law books. Arizona, which at one point repealed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, appears determined to stake out racial frontiers.
Lacey, Larkin and the New Times have a contentious relationship with the Arizona authorities. In 2007, the pair was arrested after their paper published an investigation into real-estate deals done by Maricopa County sherriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio has described himself as “America’s Toughest Sherriff.” He is known for his hard-nosed stand on immigration. He also uses Twitter, apparently.