Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced on Monday that she will go before the Supreme Court to argue the validity of the controversial immigration bill, SB 1070. The bill was passed in April of last year, but before it could be implemented, a Federal Judge said key components of the bill were unconstitutional.
Brewer lost her appeal of that ruling in April, and now has apparently decided to give it one final shot.
Brewer and supporters of the bill say that the Federal Government has failed to uphold their responsibility to enforce border security, making the legislation necessary. But Federal Judge Susan Bolton ruled that because Immigration is a federal matter, states could not enact legislation that trumps federal law.
The April appeal hearing concurred with Judge Bolton’s ruling.
Arizona is not the only state attempting such legislation to control illegal immigration. Several other states have drafted or passed similar laws that have also been struck down by federal judges. The ruling by the Supreme Court will likely carry through to the other states attempting to enact similar laws.
These debates, and the costs incurred by them, could all be avoided if we could get a comprehensive immigration reform plan moving forward. It is a program that is long overdue, is socially and fiscally prudent, and would ease growing tensions with the Latino population, who feel, justifiably, that legislation like SB 1070 unfairly target them. Europeans, Canadians, and those from regions like Haiti or the Caribbean are unlikely to be targeted in enforcement of this type of legislation to the degree Latinos would be.
In order to truly address immigration, you must address it from all fronts, not just border enforcement.
You must address the guest worker program. If the program were effective and efficient, you would eliminate most of the problem going forward by enabling those who wish to come and make a living to do so within the law and pay taxes appropriately while doing so.
You also must address the millions of illegal immigrants who live here currently. There are a couple of proposed ideas that have some merit.
The DREAM Act proposes a path to citizenship for
“illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. legally or illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning, the students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have “acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States,” or have “served in the armed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.” Military enlistment contracts require an eight year commitment, with active duty commitments typically between four and six years, but as low as two years. “Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated [according to the terms of the Act] shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act.” Wikipedia
This proposal is not without its share of detractors, but it far exceeds the non existent program we have now.
The other proposal that has gained some traction involves a guest worker program. Illegal immigrants would be granted amnesty for a period of time, during which they would be required to sign up for the, ideally newly reformed, guest worker program, and then would be able to continue to reside here so long as they abide by the terms of the program.
It is important to note that eligibility for both of these programs would be contingent on the illegal immigrant having a clean criminal record.
Vilifying illegal immigration is simply not the answer. Illegal immigrants are responsible for jobs that are the hardest to get and keep labor. Farm labor, dishwashers, housekeeping & laundry staff, and car wash attendants are some of the jobs that would be in dire straits were it not for the migrant workers who fill a large majority of these positions, legal and illegal. Let’s provide realistic programs that enable these jobs to be held by these workers legally, and, at the same time, provide them with an opportunity to improve their lives and become citizens, if that is their ultimate goal.
In the 2010 census, the Hispanic population was the fastest growing in the United States. Isn’t it time we stop the oppressive policies and recognize their invaluable contribution to our society?