This morning, while speaking at the Active Duty Naturalization Ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, President Obama emphasized the need for immigration reform. During his speech, Obama highlighted SB-1070, a radical bill recently passed in Arizona which will establish some of the harshest immigration laws in the nation, as an example of how federal inaction on the issue “will only open the door to irresponsibility”:
Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes for example the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. In fact, I’ve instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation.
But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts to open up across the country.
The Washington Post reported today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has told Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that if they don’t strike a deal on their immigration reform bill within the next three weeks, Democrats will bring forward their own legislation. Graham, however believes immigration reform is far from ready. “What am I supposed to do, write an immigration bill between now and Monday with Chuck?” Graham told The Hill.
Business groups, whose support is essential to getting a bill passed, are also worried about the possibility of Reid pushing a partisan bill. “A hasty partisan push in a difficult climate could end up poisoning the well and make it much more difficult to get to reform,” said Tamar Jacoby, president of Immigration Works USA, a business coalition.
Meanwhile, the group behind Arizona’s legislative language has boasted that more misguided bills are definitely on the way. Michael Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute takes credit for drafting SB-1070 and claims that other states have already approached them about writing similar bills, stating that Arizona is “the latest step in a fairly deliberate process.” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has until tomorrow to decide how to sign or veto the “nation’s toughest legislation against illegal immigration,” before it automatically becomes law.