Immigration: Local activists praise, criticize Supreme Court's Arizona ruling

Categories: Immigration

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Today, the United States Supreme Court rejected three of four core provisions in Arizona's controversial immigration law -- but allowed the most hotly contested to remain. It is still legal for state police to stop, interview and detain people they have "reasonable suspicion" to believe entered the country illegally, an action many Colorado immigration activists are calling "racial profiling." Click through for local reactions.

In the Supreme Court's decision, on view below, the justices agreed unanimously to permit the status-check portion to remain, instead allowing the federal government to determine which cases will actually face charges and potential deportation. The ruling places restrictions on the authority of state police, who can detain suspects but must get approval from federal authorities before holding them.

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An image from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
The justices disagreed on the other three considerations, all of which were struck down, including language that prohibited illegal immigrants from applying for jobs. Since Arizona's SB 1070 became a popular topic of debate, the Obama administration has also criticized the law, labeling it unconstitutional.

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition agrees. Local activists involved with the longtime immigrant advocacy group take comfort in the Supreme Court's decision on three of Arizona's four provisions, but worry about the implications of allowing searches based on suspicion. "Obviously, we're happy to see this decision, and we feel like the court really tried to take this case on and look at it seriously," CIRC spokesman Alan Kaplan says. "But it does leave in the one provision that will make it inevitable that people are racially profiled based on the way they act and look. Our argument is very simple: It might not be unconstitutional according to the court, but while it is allowed, it will continue to open the possibility of legal discrimination."

Looking toward the future, Kaplan hopes the fourth provision will return to national attention in the near future. "We realize that this particular case was really only focused on the preemption idea -- whether U.S. law trumps Arizona law. And we know there are still two other cases out there that have not made it through to the Supreme
Court yet but are on their way to challenge this provision that was upheld today," Kaplan says. "We want to see the entire thing defeated."

Page down to continue reading about reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law, which is included below.

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