Utah immigration law still on hold despite U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona case

Published: Monday, June 25 2012 10:00 a.m. MDT

The attorney general said he disagrees with some in the Latino community who say the court has allowed racial profiling.

"I hope that they don't continue to inflame the public in that regard because it's not what it's saying. I do believe the message to Hispanics, in particular in states that allow this, is that they're going to be concerned, they're going to be stopped, they're going to be asked for their papers."

Utah and Arizona laws differ in the verification procedure. Arizona police are required to ask for documentation upon making a stop whether it be for a broken taillight or a DUI. In Utah, police would check status based only on a probable cause arrest for felonies or serious misdemeanors.

Shurtleff said the Supreme Court ruling "confirms that the Utah legislators did something different, that they really tried to avoid the major problems that were seen in the Arizona law that in fact were struck down."

Still, attorney and Latino community activist Mark Alvarez said undocumented immigrants in Utah have reason to worry.

"People who are driving are going to feel some anxiety, feel some fears, particularly going to Arizona. That's wrong. We live in an open society," he said.

The Rev. Steve Klemz, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, said the ruling leaves open racial profiling, which "sows the seeds of fear in the community. We cannot build community on fear. We cannot build community when racial profiling opens the way that a mother or father can be detained and possibly removed."

Even though the Supreme Court did not throw out the Arizona provision requiring police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect is in the United States illegally, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges.

And Shurtleff anticipates that will be the case. "There's going to be much more litigation on this," he said.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling: Arizona v. United States

Related: High court rejects part of Arizona immigration law

Related: SCOTUSblog

Contributing: Associated Press

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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