by Moses Apsan, Esq.
President Obama's dismal failure with the growing immigration reform controversy is leading our country towards what feels like a modern day civil war. It's true that most legal scholars agree that immigration issues are federal in nature and it is the federal government's duty to to weave the immigration laws in a way that is best for America. But it is also true that under the Tenth Amendment powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the individual States or to the people. It is this clause of the constitution, accompanied by the federal government 's non-action, that has given rise to the individual states' efforts in controlling immigration.
Let's review what's happening in the different states. In Arkansas lawmaker are attempting to prohibit the state from providing non-emergency benefits to illegal immigrants. They simply ignore the chief argument against his proposal: that it would cut off services for children and pre-natal care the state provides. Even their governor, Mike Beebe oppose the bill saying that it would go too far by denying other essential services to some of the most vulnerable in the state.
"You're talking about taking health care away from unborn children, you're talking about taking health care away from disabled children, you're talking about taking mammograms away from women to detect breast cancer," Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said. "And that's all pretty dangerous stuff. ... By just his conscience, the governor cannot support any bill that deprives unborn children of health care or deprives developmentally disabled children from the help they need." Another Arkansas lawmaker, Rep. Justin Harris, sponsored a bill that would exclude illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. But the Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations Richard Hudson of the University of Arkansas opposed the bill.
Georgia is attempting to implement immigration legislation similar to the highly controversial and court condemned Arizona legislation that caused division between many states and eventually resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in state revenues. The Georgia law, HB-87, attempts to encourage law enforcement officers to use routine traffic stops to verify immigration status where an officer has “reasonable suspicion” or in the senate bill “reasonable cause” to suspect that the individual might not be a legal U.S. citizen. Many off Georgia's public officials, community organizations and citizens believe that such a law would evolve to the abuse of traffic stops and routine detentions for both unreasonable search and seizures as well as racial profiling.
In Utah, the House of Representatives passed HB70 which directs law enforcement officers to make a judgment call when checking immigration status, but after much debate was reduced to only requirie police officers to review the immigration status of anyone involved in an arrest for a serious crime.
At the same time opposite sentiments and legislation are developing throughout the country. In New York City Mayor Michael Rubens Bloomberg joined forces with giants of the fashion industry such as Oscar de la Renta, Malia Mills, Brooks Brothers, and Diane von Furstenberg to advocate for immigration reforms. "New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and that means thousands of jobs for our city...if international fashion companies face too many visa problems in America, they will simply move their billions in revenue and thousands of jobs to our competitors overseas. We need an immigration strategy that supports our businesses, instead of getting in their way," Bloomberg commented.
And in Virginia, Del. Jackson Miller was upset after a Senate subcommittee killed his anti-immigrant legislation. Miller stated that “The state Senate has let us down again, They’ve chosen political correctness and expediency over public safety. More Virginians will die, and more will be raped, as a result of their actions – or should I say, failure to act." The Bill would have mimicked Arizona's SB 1070 and required Virginia State Police to work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in enforcing federal immigration laws.
In Utah, the fight for comprehensive immigration reform has just begun. Thirty four years old Sen. Luz Robles, has developed a unusual state solution to the immigration dilemma that has caught the interest of legislators across the country. If her approach works it could change the tone of the nation's immigration debate. Her proposed bill SB60, would required the issuance of an "accountability card" to illegal immigrants living in Utah. The card would allow the immigrants the right to work without requiring a change in their legal status. The bill mandates a thorough criminal background check and learn English in order to obtain the permit.
Immigration proponents have hailed Robles' immigration bill as "ground breaking" and "creative" and in perfect harmony with what immigrants want most; the opportunity to work and live without fear. If this bill were to pass, immigration experts believe that it may have a similar national reaction as Arizona's SB1070, which attempted to get local police to enforce federal immigration laws and deport illegal immigrants.
Now, why couldn't Obama think of that?