Reporter's Note: Once again the unfinished business of immigration reform is causing troubles, and so once again it is the subject of my daily letter to the president.
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Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
I noticed that you lit into the new immigration measure in Arizona, suggesting that its “get tough” approach on undocumented workers is basically unfair. That is, of course, one of those hugely explosive issues that many communities are trying to hash out right now, and I certainly won’t take it on here. But you said one thing in your comments that bears repeating: The inaction by the federal government has invited action by the states.
And to that end, I think your venom might be far more strongly directed at failures of the federal policy than in criticizing the efforts of any state, even if you vehemently oppose that state’s stance.
Hear me out. Do you think that Arizona, New Mexico, Texas or anywhere else would even be contemplating their own immigration laws if the federal government had aggressively and successfully addressed this issue, as it certainly should have, long ago? Such states are on the front line, for good and for ill. Every benefit of new immigrants from the south, they enjoy first; and every problem, too. Without question, citizens there have spent years asking for the federal government to effectively engage this issue to no avail. And again, I’m not arguing that the federal government policy has to be pro or anti immigration…or even illegal immigration…rights. But certainly it is not too much of these border states to ask Washington to have and enforce some kind of policy.
But instead, these citizens and the illegal migrants too have been treated to years of a spineless, timid, political dishwater approach. The established powers, both Democratic and Republican, show little stomach for taking on the job; more fearful for their jobs than the security of the people they are supposed to serve…or even those who try to come here seeking opportunity.
If Washington now sees policies arising at the state level to which Washington objects, Washington has only Washington to blame. Shameful political cowardice has allowed a serious situation to fester, poisoning both the sense of security and the sense of opportunity affecting the parties involved. And then the DC crowd has to nerve to stand around professing concern. Can you blame the folks on either side of the border if they just don’t buy it?
As always, I offer solutions. Instead of criticizing those who try to come up with their own laws (again, no matter how much you may oppose them) DC has a simple remedy in hand: Get busy addressing this issue that should have been dressed long ago. It is difficult, politically touchy, and yet it may cost some elected officials their jobs…but we didn’t put any of you into office to take it easy, especially not when important business is at hand.
Call if you want to discuss. In New York today, but home on Sunday.
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