Despite the annoying fact that the Federal government has been unable to craft a coherent immigration policy, it simply isn’t up to the states to design their own. there’s this little constitutional problem, which is that the Federal government is solely responsible for immigration policy. Thus, the Attorney General was quite correct in suing Arizona on constitutional grounds. I have some sympathy for the state of Arizona; fully half of illegal border crossings occur there, and Arizona bears the brunt of our national failure to deal with the issue. That said, their solution is wrong on so many grounds I won’t even go into it here.
What ties us in knots nationally is a disconnect between rhetoric and reality. When we reduce the issues to jingoistic sound bites, we get nowhere. I love “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” To which I reply, “What part of illegal is illegal immigration? Illegal like mass murder, or illegal like a parking ticket? We do tend to treat those two differently. Then there’s the “amnesty” word, the one that brings the whole debate to a halt. Look, we are simply not going to deport 11 million, or 15 or 17, or whatever the number is, folks who at one time entered the country illegally. Not possible, so eliminate that as an option. Letting those who have been here for a long time, worked, kept out of trouble, paid taxes, have a path to citizenship seems appropriate to me, but the opponents can’t get the amnesty word out of their heads. A proposal is now being floated to allow a sort of limbo instead–a permanent green card allowing them to live here, but never become citizens. What a terrible idea! Remember the riots in Paris a few years ago? Permanent workers from other countries unable to fully participate in French life because they could never become citizens. Is that what we want?
Then again, even that appalling idea is better than what arizona came up with.