Reid suggests Supreme Court ruling leaves door open to racial profiling in Arizona

The Supreme Court ruling Monday invalidating several portions of a controversial immigration law in Arizona came as a relief to Hispanic advocates across the country, but critics of the law say there is more work to be done.

They note that the provision that requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of detained or arrested people that officers have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally was upheld.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that could lead to racial profiling. He went even further on the Senate floor, saying, “If you’re in Arizona and you speak with a little bit of an accent or your skin color is brown, you better have your papers with you. That’s unfortunate.”

However, Reid added that the court left the door open for further legal challenges.

"I’m optimistic that once that portion of the law is implemented, it will be discarded,” Reid said, “Laws that legalize discrimination are not compatible with laws and traditions of equal rights.” The majority leader said he was optimistic that the remaining provisions of the law would be contested in court and discarded once the law goes into effect.

He said that the solution to the nation’s immigration woes lies in a comprehensive approach. “That will take cooperation from our Republican colleagues,” Reid added, “and that hasn’t been forthcoming.”

The Senate’s last push for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in 2007 failed under the weight of bipartisan opposition. There is no such overhaul measure currently pending in Congress.