April 26, 2010
When I first read that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had signed the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (commonly known as SB 1070) into law in Arizona, the first and only thought that could cross my mind was how over 30% of the residents in Arizona were about to be robbed of their basic rights as human beings.
- How will this affect the Arizona voters who backed SB 1070? Negatively, unless they thrive on having their taxes increase, because there is no other way a state with a budget deficit of over $3 billion can afford such a financially demanding immigration law.
- How will this affect the Republican primary in August? Brewer might survive through the summer and again in the fall, but in signing a partially unconstitutional law that seems to regard Hispanics as presumptively criminal, it's unlikely that she did her party any long-term favors.
The law will take effect in 90 days after the current legislative session, unless there is a successful legal overturn before then.
Yet, amidst all this injustice, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Arizona's initiative in reforming immigration law has prompted the rest of the nation to look at the flaws in the current national immigration measures.Time magazine reports that President Obama, who took the unusual step of commenting on a state law when he called SB1070 "misguided" on Friday, ordered the Justice Department to look into the legislation. Some experts say that under Article 1 of the Constitution, only Congress has the right to set immigration law. There is a good reason for that, say opponents of the bill: Even if Arizona is successful in its crackdown, illegal traffic will move to other border states, shuffling the burden elsewhere without solving the national problem. Call me an optimist, but the abominable step that Arizona has taken may just be enough to propel Washington into implementing a comprehensive immigration reform.