We told you so, Arizona

We recently wrote an op-ed contending that Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070 was unconstitutional (“Arizona v. all of us,” July 16-29 NHBR). Well, shortly following, the federal court in Arizona agreed.U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put on hold the most controversial provisions, including sections that required Arizona officers to check a person’s immigration status while allegedly enforcing other state laws. The judge delayed three other parts of the law from taking effect that required immigrants and presumably U.S. citizens to carry “their papers” at all times, made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places and authorizing officers to make warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants, and by extension, U.S. citizens without ID.The judge’s reasoned decision concluded that the federal government was likely to succeed on the merits in showing that the mandates of SB 1070 are preempted by federal law. Judge Bolton said, “Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked.”As described in her ruling, not all lawfully-present aliens in the U.S. are required to carry any legal forms of identification, like visitors who entered under the Visa Waiver Program. This program permits visitors from 36, mostly Western European countries, to enter the U.S. without a visa, so long as various requirements are met.Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, reacted to the decision by saying, “The bottom line is we’ve known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds and they haven’t done their job, so we were going to help them do that.”Unfortunately, Republicans just do not understand that immigration reform and border control go hand-in-hand.Now, Republicans are trying to create another distraction. One-time immigration reformer Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., wants to rush to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution by taking away citizenship from children born in this country to illegal immigrants.Tinkering with the Constitution is way over the top. And where is the leadership of New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg, himself a former proponent of immigration reform when George W. Bush was in office?Seeking to stoke the flames of controversy and division further, New Hampshire’s GOP chairman, seeking political advantage, has invited the leading anti-immigrant spokesman Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to address New Hampshire Republicans next month.It is a clear indication that Republicans are not serious about wanting immigration reform, border control or even a multi-ethnic party.Given present demographic trends, as New Hampshire and the United States become more diverse, short-term political gains may translate into long-term structural losses. As President Obama made clear during his recent immigration reform speech, Republicans and Democrats must stop the political posturing and work together to repair our broken immigration system.Add that to the list of unfinished business in Washington, D.C.Enrique Mesa Jr. practices immigration law in Manchester with George Bruno, former U.S. Ambassador to Belize. They may be contacted at LawServeAtty@aol.com.

Categories: Opinion