Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is behind Arizona's new immigration law

by Peter Stern

The misconception about the new immigration legislation signed by the governor is that Arizona is only being racist against illegal immigrants. The problems relating to illegal immigration have been diverted to state government by the federal government who continues to refuse to resolve the long-time issue. While there often is a case to view immigration issues as racial, the impact of illegal immigrants on our society must be resolved sooner rather than later. Since the federal government, our President and Congress, refuses to deal with the illegal immigration issues and initiate intelligent and long-needed updating and modification of our total immigration laws and policy, the Governor of Arizona felt she needed to do something that would force the federal government to be placed on the hot seat.

Already the new Arizona legislation is sparking interest and anger in the state and across the nation. Arizona has become the poster state for immigration reform. Each county in the state of Arizona may determine how severe it will enforce and administer the new legislation on illegal immigration. Hundreds of activists and civil rights groups will head to Arizona and Washington D.C. to be heard. Hundreds of illegal immigrants in Arizona on standing up for their rights while hundreds more are leaving the state to take up residence and work in other nearby states.  Thousands, perhaps millions more will be heard across the nation.

The illegal immigrant legislation already is doing what the governor intended it to do, which is to generate interest, outrage and anger about the legislation and to move the issue upfront across the nation and especially to place intensified pressure on the President and Congress to do legislatively what should have been done generations ago.

In truth there are 30 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States. The term "illegal" conveys that the immigrants did not follow the immigration laws of the U.S. and they are living here illegally. If you do something illegally, against the community laws, you are considered to be a criminal. Legal and illegal immigrants across the contiguous United States want law enforcement to look the other way. They want the U.S. to provide amnesty to all of the 30 million illegal immigrants.

The issue of illegal immigration is not an easy one to resolve. It will affect more than just the 30 million illegal immigrants. It will affect their families who live here legally or illegally. It affects all American citizens because it affects our lives and our economy. While illegal immigrants have come here for a better life, they still are here illegally under the current immigration laws. The immigrants who are fighting for amnesty want us simply to overlook the immigration laws, the laws governing illegal immigration law enforcement and to continue to provide illegal residents with the same life, rights, jobs, education, health care, etc., that we do for legal immigrants and for our own citizens.

The illegal immigrant issue returns to the oversight and determination of our federal government because Arizona has approved new legislation that offends many, but it places the responsibility back on the federal government for resolution in a powerful way. The President and Congress need to stop shirking their responsibility and to determine how to deal with the 30 million illegals living and working in the U.S. and whether we need to upgrade, modify and hopefully improve our immigration policy, laws and enforcement. The government also needs to figure out what to do with the 30 million illegal immigrant and to determine what is in the best interest of all Americans, not just for the special interest sectors.

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