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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/2/10

Demonstrations Nationwide Protest against New Arizona Law

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The front page photo in Sunday's New York Times showed thousands of marchers demonstrating in Los Angeles (along with thousands more in over 70 other locations nationwide) in response to the "anti immigration law in Arizona".[1]

The demonstrations (which had been planned since March and well before the Arizona law were enacted) were far larger than originally anticipated as the new Arizona law became the catalyst and the rallying cry, "transforming them into something akin to a civil rights movement with a national profile."[2]

President Obama was quoted last week as saying, "lawmakers may not have the appetite for a volatile debate on immigration this year."[3]

Well unless we want profiling, stopping and searching "suspected" illegal immigrants to become law in more states than just Arizona[4] the Congress and this president needs to bring the issue front and center even while reform of the financial industry remains the top priority.

As President, Lyndon Johnson (supposedly) coined the phrase "walk and chew gum at the same time" (an off hand comment that has become a popular derisive remark for those who have difficulty concentrating beyond one issue) applies to the U.S. Senate whose arcane rules and procedures makes Johnson's comment all the more accurate and applicable.

The Arizona legislature and its knee jerk Governor have, with this law, incurred the wrath, not just of the Latino population but the derision of all those who recognize the reactionary, mean spiritedness and outright discrimination this law (which when challenged will undoubtedly be found un-Constitutional, even with this right wing Court) has engendered.

Other states[5] (as was said earlier) are studying and considering enacting their own draconian "solutions" to the problem.

But this is a national problem and requires a federal solution. Dithering by Congress since the 1960's has allowed the problem to fester. So typically, only when problems reach the crisis stage, will our normally somnolent brethren on Capitol Hill become sufficiently aroused and begin to recognize "something" needs to be done. That time seems close at hand.

As this writer has written previously on the issue, "Can there be any doubt there is a need for "real" immigration reform in this country", Op Ed News, April 23, 2010, Arizona's law is the siren call for the Congress to act. As I wrote, dispel the arch conservative idea of deporting all illegal aliens (some 20 million). Offer a way for them to become legal with a clear path toward citizenship. Yes beef up the border patrol and stem the flood of those illegally crossing the border. Establish a system whereby employers can easily access information on the legal status of those applying for jobs, while instituting harsh penalties (stiff fines) against employers who would ignore the law. And finally establish a date certain whereby the laws and regulations would take effect and be strictly enforced. Our current laws on illegal immigration are disregarded and a joke as "benign neglect" has produced the Arizona overreaction (and soon to be applied in other states).

Let's come to our senses. Immigrants (legal or otherwise) come to this country (as the many generations of immigrants before them) for a better life and provide for their families. They're not here to steal our jobs, get free medical care, and go on welfare or any other inane beliefs espoused by the far right wing echo chamber.

Yet the left has to recognize the country can't be overwhelmed with illegals, amnesty can not be automatically declared for everyone and the borders (particularly in the Southwest) can not remain an open highway for anyone to enter. Even Europe, which allows all citizens of the European Union countries to travel freely doesn't permit everyone to enter their countries.

It's time to get "real"; xenophobia from the right isn't the answer; over indulgence from the left isn't the answer either to "real" immigration reform, that answer lies with elements of both right and left extremes.

[1] "Fueled by Anger Over Arizona Law, Immigration Advocates Rally for Change", by Julia Preston, "The New York Times", Sunday, May 02, 2010.

[2] See footnote #1

[3] See footnote #1

[4] Writing in Sunday's "N. Y. Times" "If Only Arizona Were The Real Problem", Frank Rich wrote, "What happened in the Arizona G.O.P. is not staying in Arizona. Officials in at least 10 other states are teeing up their own immigration legislation. They are doing so even in un-Arizonan places like Ohio, Missouri, Maryland and Nebraska""

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