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News Posted on July 13, 2010

Dean Johnson Authors Op-Ed on Racial Profiling for Washington Post

Dean Kevin R. Johnson has published "Profiling's enabler: High court ruling underpins Arizona immigration law," an op-ed on racial profiling and Arizona's controversial new immigration law, in the Washington Post. 

Co-authored with Professor Gabriel R. Chin of the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, the article suggests that the "real issue" underlying Arizona's SB 1070 is racial profiling.  Given that the U.S. Constitution clearly places responsibility for immigration enforcement in the hands of the federal government, the Department of Justice is likely to prevail in its lawsuit challenging SB 1070, but "the discussion should not stop there," the article states.  Rather, state and federal courts should reconsider the issue of racial profiling, which the Supreme Court permitted in United States vs. Brignoni-Ponce, a 1975 ruling that allowed Border Patrol agents to stop vehicles and question occupants about their immigration status based upon their "Mexican appearance."

"Brignoni-Ponce has been exceptional and out of the constitutional mainstream since it was decided," the article states. "The U.S. and Arizona Supreme Courts should reconsider the endorsement of race-based law enforcement, which is contrary to modern notions of equality in America, and conform constitutional law to the principles held dear by most Americans.

In addition to appearing in the July 13 Washington Post, the op-ed was reprinted and cited by numerous media outlets including The Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal,, Colorlines, and Yahoo News, among others.

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies at UC Davis School of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.

"Profiling's enabler: High court ruling underpins Arizona immigration law"