Activists: Ruling a call for immigration reform

High court decision underscores need for system change

A spokesman for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court’s mixed ruling Monday on Arizona’s immigration law is no victory for the state or Gov. Jan Brewer.

Eddie Soto, the Western Slope organizer for CIRC, was referring to the court’s ruling that upheld the central part of the Arizona law but threw out three other key provisions.

Soto, former director of Compaņeros, a social justice organization in Durango, said justices simply let stand the provision of the law that requires state law-enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they believe the person is an illegal immigrants.

“The court simply said, ‘We’re going to let this section stand because no harm has come to anyone yet,’” Soto said. “If there is harm, then the court can reconsider the matter.”

Justices blocked a section of the law that allows police to arrest people without warrant if they have probable cause to believe they’ve done something that would make them deportable under federal law.

“There still will be racial profiling in Arizona – and other states,” Soto said. “But it must be dealt with case by case.”

The Arizona law is a revised version of Colorado’s immigration law, enacted in 2006.

It requires law-enforcement agencies to report anyone arrested and suspected of being an illegal immigrant to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The Colorado measure was a reaction to earlier decisions by local communities to prohibit police from asking about immigration status unless a person was arrested for a felony.

Durango had such a policy, erroneously called a sanctuary law.

Nicole Mosher, director of the Compaņeros Four Corners Immigrant Resources Center in Durango, said the Supreme Court ruling should tell federal elected officials to take a serious look at immigration.

The ruling is not a win for the anti-illegal immigrant movement, Mosher said.

“It’s a wake-up call to look at comprehensive immigration reform,” Mosher said. “We would definitely benefit from repeal of the (Colorado) state bill.”

The message of the high-court ruling is to tell Arizona that it can’t have its own immigration laws, Mosher said.

Danny Quinlan with the La Plata Unity Project said blocking provisions of in the Arizona law is “a great ruling.”

Quinlan said it’s unfortunate that the court let stand the requirement that law officers determine the immigration status of people arrested if there’s reason to believe they’re undocumented immigrants.

“It all goes to show we need national immigration reform,” Quinlan said. “We have to make sure that no racial-profiling laws are passed.”

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