The latest battle over immigration is heading to a courtroom.
The federal government filed suit Tuesday against Arizona to block the state's controversial immigration law requiring cops to stop and question anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. With supporters of the law saying the state was only doing what it had to because of federal inaction, and opponents arguing Arizona overstepped its bounds, how does the new lawsuit change the picture? Pundits weigh in:
The Washington Post editorial board argues the suit is just the first step and the White House and Congress should fix the issue. "Congress for years has ignored practical realities and succumbed to xenophobia and fear-mongering to derail efforts to craft sensible immigration reforms," they write. "It's fine to claim a right to 'preempt' state law, but that right comes with a responsibility to do the job. The federal government has improved border security; now it needs to provide a pathway for citizenship for those who entered illegally but have otherwise been productive members of society."
The Wall Street Journal editorial board hopes that politicians will take this opportunity to draft legislation supporting more robust guest worker programs. "Illegal migrants will continue to arrive as long as the demand for entry visas outstrips the supply," they write. Guest worker programs "would reduce human smuggling, document fraud, trespassing and other criminality common in border regions. It would also free limited homeland security resources to focus on gang members, drug dealers and other serious threats."
Greg Sargent of the liberal Plum Line blog writes that the issue could help Obama and Democrats at the polls this fall by energizing Latino voters. "But a major, high-profile lawsuit like this one could do nearly as much as a legislative push on the issue to excite Latino and other Dem base voters, at least in the short term," he writes. "It could restart the national argument over immigration, push the issue to the forefront again, and demonstrate the Obama administration's willingness to use the power of the Federal government to defend Latinos' civil rights. Gonna get hot."
E.J. Montini of The Arizona Republic doesn't believe anything will change due to the lawsuit. "So far, the only people benefiting from the hoopla over the law are the political candidates who are stumbling over themselves in order to look tough on immigration and border security," Montini writes. "Already members of Arizona's delegation are rushing out statements, most of which condemn the very institution -- Congress -- where they work. And we're supposed to reelect them? Many of these people have been in office for some time, decades even, and have done… nothing."