The talk of the nation over the past weekend has been about SB 1070, which recently became law in Arizona. This law makes it a state misdemeanor for anyone to be unable to prove lawful residence in the U.S. upon being asked to provide such proof, and requires police to make a reasonable attempt, when practical, to determine immigration status if there is cause to suspect they are illegal immigrants.
Now this writer would hope that no one would have a problem with the first part of that assessment of the newly enacted law. After all, it merely makes a state crime out of what is already a federal crime.
The issue that is troubling is what the second part could, COULD lead to – racial profiling, and the violation of civil rights. Did the Arizona legislature act reasonably by enacting such a draconian, some would say Nazi-like law? Perhaps not. But it is the fault of the federal government who has not dealt with the issue of protecting our borders.
It is estimated that Arizona has around 500,000 illegal immigrants. Some on the left prefer to call them undocumented workers. But the fact remains that because they are undocumented, they are within our borders illegally. People who don’t live in border states like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas don’t get how serious of a problem it is.
In 2007, talking about then-Governor Janet Napolitano, David Broder of WaPo said, “But with the failure of Congress, she [Napolitano] found herself in a position of having to leave the problem to fester or to sign a seriously flawed bill.” This is exactly what Governor Jan Brewer has done.
Most Americans, and most Republicans have no problems with immigrants who are in this country legally. After all, we are a country of immigrants! It’s weeding out those who are legal and those who are not.
This writer believes in immigration reform. However, reform is not amnesty. The first thing we need to do is to protect our borders. Yes, it is 2000 miles long, but we need to do something. Put up a large fence where feasible. Use electronic surveillance in other places. We must start somewhere.
The next thing is to figure out is what to do with the illegals who are already here. Our government can’t simply round out 20 million people and mark them ‘return to sender.’ But they can’t all stay here.
Finally, we must bring equality to immigration reform. Foreign born partners who marry American citizens must be afforded the same courtesy as our straight counterparts. Immigration Equality is an organization that provides great resources for those are trying to work within the law.
Now Democrats want to fast track a comprehensive immigration bill through Congress, because they think it will help them in the mid-terms. They need to first think what’s best for our country. The answers are currently beyond my reach as of this blog post. But we must not wave a magic wand and make every illegal who is currently here, legal.
But until Congress acts responsibly, states will have no alternative other than enacting legislation of this nature, regardless of how cynical and intrepid it may be.