Immigration Ruling Sparking Debate in Coachella Valley
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
The Supreme Court ruling banning most of Arizona's immigration law is a partial win for immigrant advocates across the country and here in the desert, but the high court's approval of the most controversial part of the law allowing police to ask for legal papers is also a win for supporters of the law.
If police stop a person for a crime or even a traffic violation and they have "reason to believe" that person is in the country illegally, police are required to verify the person's legal status.
"I think the issue of "reason to believe" is very simple. If you look like an immigrant, you'll be an immigrant and that's unfortunate," said Karan Kler, Executive Director of Coachella Valley Immigration Services and Authorization.
Five states have similar laws to Arizona's, which put immigration enforcement in the hands of local police.
Joe torres-- an immigrant to the Coachella Valley from Mexico-- worries for his family in Arizona.
"They are full of fear and want to move from there," said Torres.
The Supreme Court blocked three other provisions in the law, including one that makes it illegal under state law for undocumented immigrants to work. The Supreme Court's ruling largely tells states that immigration law is in the hands of the federal government.
"The federal government has been told, in a way, do your bloody job. The state governments have been told, pease do not use state taxpayer money to enforce federal immigration law," said Kler.
The court left open the possibility of ruiling on the law again. What constitutes "reason to believe" could still be challenged and brought to the Supreme Court.
"We have to go to their country we have to have a passport, so I think it's a good thing," said Kimberley Babakitis, of Palm Desert.
Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News.