Can there be any doubt there is a need for "real" immigration reform in this country?
What the Arizona legislature just passed was hardly a move in that direction. According to Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who wrote in his blog, "The Arizona legislature just passed the country's most retrogressive, mean spirited, and useless anti-immigration law. The tragedy is the flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense". He further likened it to "German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques" that would have people turn others in. This last statement was a little over the top even for this legislature as "it would not require people to report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities," (as the Cardinal had written).
As to some of the details of the bill; it "would make it a crime to be in the state illegally and require law enforcement officers to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. It would also bar people from soliciting work or hiring workers under certain circumstances, a provision aimed at the day-labor trade," (clearly discriminatory and certainly "profiling" of Latinos). To date, the Governor of Arizona, Jim Brewer has yet to sign the bill into law.
Some critics of the Obama administration accuse the president of failing in his commitment "to overhaul the nation's immigration system."
Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress in her role as vice president of immigration policy said, "He made some commitments that he's supposed to be delivering on". The president "initially had promised to take up the issue in his first year in office," (to be fair every issue can not be priority #1 for this president or the country, but it can't be delayed much longer in light of what has been transpiring in Arizona).
At this point some background is in order.
Officially, there are supposedly some 12 million illegal aliens in this country, (the total is probably closer to 20 million).
Whatever policy's we have on illegal immigration are clearly not working. Both party's in Congress, Democrat or Republican controlled have "kicked this can" down the road since the 1960's when the issue of illegal immigration first emerged. Presidents of either party have done no better.
And the enforcement of the existing laws on illegal aliens is a joke. There are occasional raids at immigrant soccer games (this observer personally witnessed authorities chasing hundreds of "presumed" illegal aliens who jumped in the Tidal Basin (next to the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.) in the early 1970's.
Then there are employers who take on day laborers, restaurant cooks, hotel cleaning staff, landscapers' et al who hardly ever are held accountable for hiring "illegals". If they are there are no severe penalties (fines) that are so prohibitive that would dissuade many employers from continuing the practice.
On the other side of this issue are the actual people, the immigrants (legal or otherwise) who come here as all immigrants before them, for a better life. They work hard, often for meager wages, are exploited and sometimes not paid for their labor by unscrupulous and sleazy employers. Most significantly, many (most?) of their children were born in the U.S., making them citizens as their birthright. Do you deport their parents (who may be illegal), break up their families and then make the children wards of the state? That smacks of slave times where children, mothers and fathers were forcibly separated and families torn apart.
The reality is these people often take jobs that many "Americans" born in this country are unwilling to do. Construction work, landscaping, seasonal fruit and vegetable picking, hotel maids, hospital custodians, restaurant cooks are just a few of the type of jobs most "Americans" will not do.
This is not a new phenomenon. Immigrants have always come to this country and taken jobs the "older" generations' of "immigrants" had moved away from (and were unwilling to do any longer).
So there is a duality to the problem of illegal immigration that the two extremes (the arch conservatives who want to deport all illegal aliens and those (on the far left) who want to grant complete amnesty to all, without penalty, and make everyone legal.
Neither extreme is the answer, but because they use the loudest "megaphone" they are the ones heard "pontificating" their views that offer no "real" solution. The latter can only come from a middle course compromise that may contain elements of the extremes.
The extreme right has to eventually recognize that deportation of all illegal aliens is simply unrealistic. It would be logistically impossible (and morally reprehensible). And it would not be a deterrent and dissuade or prevent new "illegals" from continuing to enter the country. And it is impossible to seal the U.S.border.