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Ruling On Ariz. Law Draws Mostly Negative Reaction From Immigrant Advocates

A TV camera is set up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court June 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A TV camera is set up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court June 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Local immigrant-rights advocates are not pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Under the high court’s 5-3 ruling, police officers in Arizona can still ask everyone they stop or arrest to prove they are in the country legally.

Members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights say the ruling encourages racial profiling and could prompt even more states to pass similar laws.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports


“Today, the Supreme Court said ‘yes’ to hate, ‘yes’ to racial profiling, and ‘no’ to immigrants,” Maria Pesqueira said at a Monday news conference.

U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, an outspoken advocate for immigration reform, has similar concerns.

“It is concerning, however, to me that the Supreme Court would let stand ‘show me your papers’ legislation, which clearly is going to invite abuse on the part of police officials to racial profiling,” he said.

While he criticizes the provision that was upheld, Gutierrez praises the justices for striking down three other areas of the law. They include a provision that made it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration papers and for unauthorized immigrants to apply, solicit or perform work.

Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, said most of the court ruling indicates state law cannot supersede the federal government’s role in immigration.

“It is the mandate of the federal government to enforce and execute immigration policy in this nation,” he said.

Arizona’s Republican governor, meanwhile, claimed victory in the ruling, saying justices had upheld the “heart” of the legislation.

Immigration-reform activists say they believe the ruling will encourage more legal immigrants to register to vote so that they can send a clear message in the upcoming election.