Arizona’s new immigration law is a bad idea whether you are an anti or a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. The reasons are different for each but the idea of a state taking crazy measures points to the failure of congress and the administration to take meaningful action to correct what is becoming a system that is failing the immigrant community and our entire nation.
What does the Arizona law do?
Arizona’s law orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the United States illegally.
What do opponents say?
Critics, including immigrant advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, say they are concerned the law will foster racial profiling, arguing that most police officers don’t have enough training to look past race while investigating a person’s legal status.
It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.
Are other states considering similar legislation?
Michael Hethmon, general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, helped draft the language of the Arizona bill. Hethmon said lawmakers from four other states have approached him asking for advice on how they can do the same thing where they live. He declined to identify which states, citing attorney-client privilege.
Is federal immigration legislation coming?
Democrats say that if they don’t get Republican commitments soon, they likely will push to move a bill without GOP support.
Democratic sources said the chances of passing immigration reform in that scenario this year are slim, but they want to make clear to key constituencies they are at least trying.
President Obama is still pushing for a bill, though.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the only GOP senator on board, but he has told Democrats they will lose his support unless they find another Republican. Obama recently called Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, to try to get him on board, a Brown spokeswoman said.
Bottom line is that this bill does not make Arizona safer or its residents free of criminals. It’s anti-immigrant and unconstitutional.