Local immigrant rights groups react to Supreme Court ruling on Arizona law
WTMJ News Team
Cody Holyoke reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE- The U.S. Supreme Court throws out part of Arizona's immigration law, but a controversial part of that law can go forward.
The court upheld the constitutionality of the most controversial part of Arizona's law -- that police be required to check the immigration status of anyone they believe is not in the country legally.
That part of Monday's ruling is sending shockwaves through Wisconsin.
Mixed news from the high court leaves advocacy groups on edge.
Civil rights organizations like Voces de la Frontera and the ACLU look at the ruling as bittersweet. On one hand, justices ruled the federal government has the power to block Arizona's controversial law.
But, they did uphold the constitutionality of a rule that lets police check immigration status.
"Police can stop someone based on the reasonable suspicion that they look undocumented. People with common sense know what this means. Do you have an accent? Do you have dark skin?" said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director for Voces de la Frontera.
Community members gathered on the south side to voice their concerns.
Pastor Walter Baires told reporters he's worried about the implications the ruling may have on Hispanic life.
"We are concerned that families who are still undocumented won't feel safe talking or calling the police," said Pastor Baires of the American Lutheran Church.
Groups like the Council for the Spanish Speaking do take solace in the federal government exercising power over the law.
They're hopeful the measures in Arizona don't bring problems home.
"We do not believe that in the state of the Wisconsin there will be that type of racial profiling. We hope this is not the case," said Tony Baez of the Council for the Spanish Speaking.
Just last year, Wisconsin did have a bill on the books which would have required police to turn certain people over to immigration officials.