Immigration Ruling Sparks Mixed Reaction in NWA

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A much-anticipated ruling from the Supreme Court on Arizona’s immigration law sparked mixed reaction across the area Monday.

In reading the 5-3 majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the court agrees immigration falls under federal, not state jurisdiction. The decision struck down a requirement that all immigrants carry registration papers and a provision that made it a state crime for them to seek work.

The high court did say the most controversial part of the law, requiring police check the immigration status of those they stop, could go forward.

"I don't think there's any reason to fear unless you're doing the wrong thing, unless you are doing illegal activities,” said Joe Aldana, who is seeking citizenship in Northwest Arkansas.

Opponents say the provision could create racial profiling.

"Anyone can be stopped for any reason and check for immigration status,” said Geovanny Sarmiento. “I don't think that's good policy. I think the federal government can do a much better job."

Local groups worry that if a law like this is passed in Arkansas it could create racial profiling and hurt the local economy.

"A lot of people are just going to pack their bags and go to somewhere it's easier to do business," said Sarmiento.

Aldana is from Guatemala and says he's never been stopped because he's Hispanic.

“Even if that law passed basically they wouldn't be stopping everybody that looks Hispanic,” he said.

Local opponents hope to prevent a law similar to Arizona’s from making its way to Arkansas. Some leaders in NWA plan to speak to local lawmakers.