EDITORIAL: High court immigration decision a signal to voters this fall

As if there weren’t enough keystone election issues making this year’s presidential, congressional and state legislature elections critical choices for voters, the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on immigration makes the election in 2012 a game changer.

It has to be the next Congress and the next White House administration to enact real immigration reform. It certainly won’t come from the current politically-stalled U.S. House and Senate.

The Supreme Court in its decision this week on Arizona’s ill-fated immigration law made clear that the issue of immigration belongs to the federal government. It means that those in Arizona rightfully upset by Congress’ inability to act on illegal immigration can’t take the matters into their own hands, as Arizona tried to do. Aurora voters need to scrutinize the current crop of congressional and state legislature candidates on this and similar issues. Those who insist on impractical, inhumane and impossible rhetoric need to be discarded. This issue is too important, and inaction is no longer an option.

Aurora police have made it clear they cannot enforce immigration law, because it endangers the entire community.

Illegal and even legal Hispanic immigrants will avoid police at all costs if cops are de-facto immigration officers, meaning they won’t call the cops when they know about a crime or even if they’re victims of a crime. It won’t take long before criminals figure this out and start targeting Hispanics for robberies and rapes, knowing that most won’t dare to call police for fear of being deported. But just as important, immigrants will start living underground lives, minimizing their contact with the rest of the community. An illegal immigrant involved in even a minor traffic accident will likely run from the scene, rather than take a chance of being deported.

Immigration matters are hugely time consuming, sapping police of resources needed to fight real crime.

State lawmaker candidates who insist on forcing this issue onto local police should be disqualified by voters from holding office.

Likewise, congressional immigration reform must be practical and realistic. Inflamed by election-year and Tea Party rhetoric, many conservatives are moving with their populist base toward a demand to try to oust the 12 million or so illegal immigrants in the country and even attempt to rewrite the 14th Amendment, which allows anyone born in the United States to claim citizenship.

On the other side is a majority of Americans, businesses and legislators who want comprehensive reform, some modicum of earned-amnesty for at least some immigrants, and a system that prevents future undocumented residents from flooding the country.

Conservatives are talking out of both sides of their mouths on this issue. They must now answer not only to cold-hearted and irrational anti-immigration fanatics like former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, but they must also answer to corporate America, which bankrolls conservative campaigns and has a critical need for the cheap labor illegal immigrants provide.

The middle road is the only answer. Rather than piecemeal more ineffective legislation, Congress must re-examine plans similar to the McCain-Kennedy measure, which sought to humanely, wisely and effectively deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. More importantly, it sought to deal with giving businesses accurate tools to ensure prospective employees are either citizens or have valid work credentials. Comprehensive reform addresses the very real need for labor supplied by these illegal immigrants, and it allows the United States to ensure that the entire country is safe, rather than just the borders. It’s that kind of real reform Americans want, not xenophobic dramatics.

  • R J

    The article stated “Immigration matters are hugely time consuming, sapping police of resources needed to fight real crime”.  It’s true Immigration matters, like dealing with other violations of law, are time consuming.  However we either have enforceable laws or we don’t.   Persons illegally in this country committ assault, murder, rape, burglary, DUI, drug violations, etc. on par with the rest of our population.  That is in addition to being in violation of federal Immigration laws.   Why should we be so worried about offending one segment of the community that it should be OK to ignore one type of violation?  Yes, many undocumented aliens are also, otherwise, law abiding.  But they are still in violation of the law.

    • C7245677

      I agree, there are Federal immigration laws and they should be enforced or changed.  The President of the United States should not be able to decided which Federal laws he will enforce and which ones he will ignor.  It is not right that President Obama makes exective orders to do what he wants done when the Congress won’t pass his desired laws and regulations.  If the President (executive Branch of government) interfers with the enforcement of Federal laws, then the States should have the power to enforce those laws.  The Supreme Court was wrong in its decision on the Arizona immigration laws.

    • gofastgo

      You make the point that should have been addressed long ago, but was not.  These people are here illegaly, overstayed visas, illegally enered via the porous Southern border.  They immediately drain the public system of monies meant to go to Americans in time of need, healthcare, shelter, food, clothing, etc.  Groups like ACORN direct them to the right agency, with the correct forms, more government programs to take advantage of.  Our schools are performing poorly, in part because of illegals, ‘immersion’ classes, dual language classes, etc., the American kids take a back seat to their needs and consequently don’t learn at the expected rate.

      Good comment.

  • See thats when you enact a constitutional change to give states back that power…imagine that the high court basically saying you can’t protect yourself because its the feds job and if they dont want to..well thats too bad….

  • WATCH OUT>>>BIASED ARTICLE…in favor of illegal chaos.