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Virginia Civil Rights Advocates Disappointed By Immigration Ruling

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Civil rights groups in Virginia say they are deeply disappointed with part of the Supreme Court's ruling on immigration Monday.

Opponents of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration hailed most of the decision, but several civil rights groups in Virginia say they are concerned the Arizona Supreme Court may uphold a section of the state law known as "2B," which is also called the "show me your papers" provision. It allows law enforcement officers to "make a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of a person they arrest or detain if they have a reasonable suspicion the person is undocumented.

"Unfortunately, people of color or Latinos will be targeted," Edgar Aranda, chairman of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, said of the law. "There is no way to enforce this law without racial profiling."

Virginia New Majority director John Liss said the Arizona law was copied from a similar effort in Prince William County. "In many ways, Prince William is a trial balloon, where things were test run — policies created in think tanks in Washington, test run in Prince William and then exported to the rest of the country," he said.

There was some praise for parts of the ruling that struck down several provisions of the Arizona law.

"One of the crackpot theories of the anti-immigration forces is that local and state police officers have what they call inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law," said Attorney Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg. "The Supreme Court said [Monday] that is absolutely false."

On the other hand, Sandoval-Moshenberg says the legal bills pose a mounting burden.

"Their legal bill will easily be in the tens of millions, and I wouldn't be surprised if it reaches up to a hundred million," he said. "Who's going to pay for that? The taxpayers of Arizona. Sorry for you guys."

Many Virginia civil rights advocates called on the General Assembly to avoid adopting legislation similar to what is now being considered again in Arizona. Opponents 2B hope the court will ultimately strike it down.

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