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IL immigration groups react strongly to Supreme Court ruling on AZ law

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 17:41:37 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker / IPR

Illinois' senior U-S Senator is criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's tough immigration law. The high court struck down part of the law requiring immigrants to carry registration papers. But Arizona still has the authority to check the immigration status of people suspected of being in the U-S illegally. That upset Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

"Well, I don't like it. I wish they'd struck the whole law to be honest with you. But, it could have been worse and with this Supreme Court, I guess it's a good day."

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in favor of immigrants on three out of four provisions of the main law, a Bloomington Normal activist says it is a bad result. Sonny Garcia is with Latinos United for Change of Illinois People's Action.

"Pretty much just giving carte blanche to other states to follow this "show your papers" racial profiling law. Something we're not happy with."

Justices also rejected provisions banning illegal immigrants from seeking or holding employment, and from a requirement that immigrants carry identification papers. Garcia says he hopes the decision will help mobilize the Latino community to force legislative change. McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery also calls for Congress to act to clarify what he terms a very confusing immigration program. But, Emery says the high court decision will not change the way McLean County asks immigration authorities for assistance.

"The problem there is the forgeries that take place in immigration papers. Just as we do with identification cards that those folks come in with, we can't believe that they're accurate."

Emery says typically more than half of those IDs are false. Once Deputies pose a question to Immigration Control, Emery says he has no discretion on holding inmates if the feds ask him to do so. Latinos United for Change has criticized Emery for so easily seeking federal input when his office is not an immigration agency. But, Emery says he does need to know who is in his jail on other charges. Senator Durbin says Congress should re-write federal immigration laws, rather than each state having its own provisions. But he says that likely won't happen until after November's elections.

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