Musings on Immigration

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The Arizona Law and Immigration Reform

Much has been written and said about the new Arizona Law pertaining to immigrants (it pertains to everyone actually, and certainly is not limited to undocumented immigrants). From Eugene Robinson and Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, to John Stewart on The Daily Show, and even Tom Tancredo, everyone is up in arms about this law. We have heard from Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter), President Obama, and even from Governor Jan “Show Me Your Papers” Brewer, all opine about the law and WHY the Arizona Legislature had to act on “illegal” immigration.

The conventional wisdom now is that Congress will be “forced” to act on immigration reform. The caution to understand here, from pundits and politicians alike is that the prospect of immigration reform based upon a knee jerk reaction to an unconstitutional law does not change the inherent political dynamics in Congress. Immigration reform needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. The lone Republican who was supporting reform, Senator Lindsey Graham, has threatened to withdraw his support for moving the bill at this time if the Democrats do not move the climate legislation first; other Republican Senators likely to support the bill are not exactly popping out of the woodwork.

The caution sign is up. There will be no reform until President Obama exercises real leadership here and relentlessly calls for legislation, and actually proposes workable solutions. There will be no reform until some Republicans decide that doing what is right for America is more important cowtowing to nativists (some already have called for reform). And, there will be no reform until Democrats stop using the prospect of reform as sort of a carrot to get Hispanics to come to the polls in November. All three of these stumbling blocks to reform need to be removed at the same time. Let’s pray that our elected politicians in Washington will finally exercise leadership on immigration and do what is good and right for America.

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