by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Comprehensive Immigration reform proponents are panicking over the Arizona fiasco are now worrying about the 1200 troops Obama is sending to protect the borders. The urgency of overhauling the nation's immigration system has been increased by the recent passage of SB 1070 in Arizona. This “law” in essence sanctions racial profiling as normal police practice and allows persons to sue law enforcement if they feel that the police has failed to enforce the law.
Some 16 states are considering legislation comparable to SB 1070. While polls have shown that that a large number of people support this type of enforcement, many of those same polls show even greater interest for comprehensive immigration reform as the best solution. To date most Republicans are disinclined to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
The largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States The League of United Latin American Citizens, opposes President Obama's order to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and is asking its membership to contest several amendments submitted this week to the supplemental war spending bill which will go beyond the President's border escalation. Specifically the are asking members to contact their senators to oppose expected amendments by McCain (SA 4214), Kyl (SA 4228) and Cornyn
"As we have seen time and time again, efforts to overhaul our broken immigration system have taken a back seat to dramatic escalations of border enforcement including placing troops on the U.S. border to serve in a function for which they have not been trained," stated LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. "What is shocking is that this escalation is coming at a time when border violence and unauthorized border crossings have declined. If we want to solve the challenge of undocumented immigration, it is clear that enforcement alone will not work."
Meanwhile, the National Council of La Raza also expressed disappointment. "While we appreciate that the president reiterated his commitment to immigration reform at a meeting with congressional Republicans, taking this step without any concurrent announcement on next steps or even a timeline for a comprehensive fix to our broken immigration system is both inadequate and deeply disappointing," said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). "As we have stated time and again, temporary fixes and patchwork initiatives won't solve the problem. Congress and the administration have it within their power to do what the American people need, to solve tough problems. They need to act now."
But in reality these organizations are overacting as no such illegal immigrant hunting will happen under President Obama’s watch.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, "It's not about immigration." He explained that what they are doing is "fully consistent with our efforts to do our part to stem, you know, violence, to interdict the flow of dangerous people and dangerous goods -- drugs, guns, people."
Crowly said the troops would essentially free up civilians engaged in support functions so that law enforcement personnel can be increased along the 2,000-mile-long (3,200 kilometer) border. "We have explained the president's announcement to the government of Mexico, and they fully understand the rationale behind it," Crowley said.
Even Mexico does not object to U.S. plans to station troops along the border between the two nations as long as the soldiers do not arrest Mexicans trying to get into the United States, President Felipe Calderon said on Thursday.
Calderon opined that Washington had not in earnest addressed the necessity to stop what he called the trafficking of weapons and money into Mexico. "They have a commitment to uphold the law on the American side and not to use the National Guard for immigration purposes or to deal with immigration issues," Calderon said in a news conference in Ottawa after talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "If the National Guard helps toward a common purpose of having a safer border and if they can do this without detaining Mexican migrants, I think this (planned deployment) could bring about positive results," said Calderon.
The U.S. ambassador to Mexico said on Wednesday that the extra troops would be functioning in back offices serving intelligence officials in processing information, or be posted as lookouts between ports of entry.