Post SB 1070 Immigration Reform

In light of the Supreme Court of the United States’ significant rebuke of Arizona’s SB1070, Arizona shouldn’t be leading in the courts; it should be leading at the federal level in passing sensible immigration reforms. Rather than doubling-down on laws that do little to solve the problem as some of the Republican candidates are suggesting, we must accept the fact state-level laws are not permitted by the Constitution and dedicate ourselves to getting it right in Congress.

I like a combination of solutions. One being that of the group Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform (AZEIR) who have proposed setting up Ellis Island-type centers on the border that act as job placement and clearinghouses for workers looking for jobs in the U.S. These centers would handle health and background checks, provide legal documents, and collect processing fees (for self-funding) while also providing a mechanism for employers to get the workers they need more quickly and easily.

I like the proposal to revise federal visa quotas to better match real business needs and to give those who are here an opportunity to come clean with the law, identify their employers, and pay any back taxes as a requirement for getting a work visa and legal status.

Citizenship should be for those who really want it and it should be earned, not given away. I support the DREAM Act and for giving those who were brought here by their parents a path to a choice of citizenship or legal status. For their parents and adults who crossed our border looking for work, they should have a chance to get legal status, but not citizenship unless they begin the legal process for doing so.  To make all of this work, we need to have some market-based reform of the visa process and quotas and to create new visas and rules that allow our country to welcome the workers we need in an expedited manner.

There is no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that the approach Arizona has been on is a failed one. We were told conclusively that SB1070 was “completely Constitutional” and that “all we needed” was for the Supreme Court to hear the arguments. Well, they did and rejected three of the four challenged sections, with the fourth being sent back not for enforcement, but for litigation. It seems to me that if your strategy for making laws is to create lawsuits to prove your point, you have the wrong approach as well as the wrong answer. We need better answers, not more of what we know fails.  As your state representative, I’ll work to really solve the problem, not simply create distrust, dissension and disputes that cost the taxpayer’s even more money.