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June 6th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #503: States rights...and wrongs

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama was talking about taking on immigration reform, but I haven’t heard much about that lately, what with the oily Gulf, and other matters.  Perhaps my daily letter will be a reminder.

Dear Mr. President,

During your interview last week with Larry King you made a comment that has been on my mind.  In regard to the Arizona immigration law, you said something like, “This is a federal matter.  We can’t have each state just deciding on its own about immigration rights.”  Again, admittedly I am paraphrasing, and if I have it wrong, give me a ring and let me know.  “Hello, Tom?  This is the president.  What I actually said was ‘Larry, you’re looking wonderful.  What’s your secret?  Pilates?’”

Anyway, I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue with the first part.  Of course our immigration policies as a nation should be the purview of the Feds.  Sure, some states may feel they have no choice but to come up with their own laws as long as the DC crowd can’t get around to immigration reform.  I mean, the folks jumping the border don’t seem to listen when we say, “Hey, time out.  Our leaders in DC can’t really handle this issue right now.  Can you come back, oh say, next year?”  Still, like I said, as a practical matter this ought to be federal business.

But let’s talk about the second part of your statement.  I understand that we don’t want to have an utterly chaotic mishmash of laws coast to coast on every issue, especially those that deal with what we might consider basic rights.  But how come so many politicos who scream so loudly for diversity, suddenly howl for homogeneity when it comes to any state that does not fall in lock step with the others?  Why can’t more conservative, liberal, or moderate states each create climates and laws which reflect the views of their populations?  Isn’t that part of diversity too? FULL POST