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Editorial: Immigration reform still stuck in a war of words
6/26/2012 1:11:00 PM
Monday’s oddball ruling on SB 1070 had something to infuriate just about everybody with a dog in the fight. Reaction was swift, with everyone disappointed with some aspect of what the U.S. Supreme Court had to say, and there were lots of words in response.
The most repeated words were “frustration” and “the country needs real immigration reform.”
We have heard this before. These are still just words, the same words politicians and organizers keep trucking out to gain political points. The ruling has given us another war of words and some one-upmanship between state and federal authorities. That is exactly what was happening before SB1070 was even created and before the Supreme Court handed down its ruling.
The opinion upheld the idea of local police checking the immigration status of individuals they’ve stopped as long as they can support a suspicion that individual is not here legally. However, the Court basically told police, “Watch out. We’re keeping our eyes on you, and if you step out of line, we’ll do something about it.” What that really means from a constitutional approach is anyone’s guess and just sounds odd coming from the Court.
As an added bonus, even if police determine they have an illegal immigrant on their hands, there is little they can do with him if he is not a dastardly criminal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already indicated its lack of interest in low-level illegal immigrants, officially canceling earlier agreements with police agencies here.
Almost everything else in SB 1070 was voided. It is clear from statements prepared well in advance that this was not a surprise. Arizona is not interpreting this as the federal government re-establishing its mighty power, nor should it.
Those who really care about immigration reform should take aim directly at U.S. Congress, shaking them out of their trench warfare of words. Washington has staked its claim of responsibility on immigration reform and needs to be held accountable for it. From now on, the same old words are not going to work.
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