Racial profiling not at the heart of the Arizona immigration case before the Supreme Court

Methinks that the federal challenge to the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, heard last week by the U.S. Supreme Court, is terribly misunderstood.

For many folks, the state law — which helps enforce federal immigration laws already on the books — is about racial profiling. They argue that cops, for whatever reason, will target people who "look" illegal, i.e. Hispanics.

Critics of the law, such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., demand that the court overturn the law because it "unconstitutionally authorizes discrimination." President Barack Obama, whose Justice Department is challenging the 2010 statute as unconstitutional, called the law "misguided" because it "undermines the basic notion of fairness." Its critics say the law turns Arizona into an immigrant police state that legalizes racial profiling. Even Catholic bishops had opposed the bill, andMexico's embassy chimed in with concerns about racial profiling.

Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune op-ed page. 

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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