Illegal Immigration is a lightning rod political issue. Millions take it as a personal issue and demand the government act in one manner or another. As with most things, both sides have key points. But the latest event in Arizona may make the upcoming push by Democrats even more partisan than ever.
One thing that is clear and without question is the status of the illegal immigrants. While supporters and many in the media like to call them undocumented workers, the fact is that the document missing is a green card and validation to be in the United States. That is a crime. So there is no dispute, no matter how disliked it may be to be said, that illegal aliens are criminals.
Thus the 2 sides on the matter truly are split only on one thing. How to deal with this inital crime. Some believe enforcement of the law is critical and will not bend. Others state that the law is badly written and that the existence of these illegal aliens over years benefits the nation – thus an exception should be made.
In Arizona a line in the sand has been drawn. With the passage of SB 1070, Arizona is directly taking a stand on illegal immigration. This places the State at odds, to a degree, with the Federal Government that normally deals with such a national issue.
According to SB 1070, police are now authorized to stop individuals and challenge their nationality. It is also now a State as well as Federal crime to be an illegal alien. Those currently convicted of a crime in Arizona and illegal are to be sent directly to ICE for deportation after serving their sentence and/or fine. It enforces restrictions on illegal aliens from receiving public benefits, and prevents government officies from hiding the status of illegal aliens.
Portions of this seem completely logical from the standpoint of law. Illegal aliens convicted of a crime seem an obvious choice to be presented to ICE for deportation. Police seem an obvious choice to question those they might knowingly or reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. It seems obvious that if any department of the government (local or federal) is aware of the existence of illegal aliens, that they should inform other parts of the government about this to enforce immigration laws.
Opponents have a different view. Some state that this lends itself to racial profiling. That portions of this law are unconstitutional. That,
“…signing SB 1070 launches Arizona into a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.” – President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz in a mass email from MALDEF on April 23, 2010
One of the things that seems questionable is how anyone except illegal aliens would fall “into a spiral of pervasive fear”, or “increased crime”. Especially crime. Why exactly would the Arizona law cause criminals to commit further and more extreme (than the relatively passive immigration violation) crimes?
It is the heated rhetoric of many groups, on either side of the issue, that complicates it. The law may in fact be struck down in courts. But it only makes it clear that immigration is an issue America must take a long sober view of. Wild claims of increased crime and racisim serve to help no one. But enforcement of reasonable laws seems to have come to the forefront of much of the nation.