April 24th, 2010
08:51 AM ET

Dear President Obama #460: Immigration problems? Blame DC

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
AC360° Correspondent

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.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. alan

    for once i agree with you. thanks

    April 25, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  2. Gail Ali

    Way to go Arizona,we're proud of you for standing up. Become a state plan.

    April 25, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  3. Tracy Carpenter

    Can anyone help me understand why a person who broke the law and snuck into our country, now thinks they are injured parties if they get caught? Thinks that they have RIGHTS to my money?
    I may just be slow, but I can't quite get the logic here . .

    April 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  4. Jeanette

    Tom, well said. If the federal government would enforce the laws we already have and do what the constitution says to protect our borders, we wouldn't have this problem. Good for Arizona!!

    April 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm |

    Ac360, Please read out this to the people of arizona today, this new immigration law is not against any color for the matter, it is a law that will help save the peaceful american citizen from crime. Arizona is a border state that had since been facing immigration problems since centuries away, people from the seven continent are fighting to enter the united states illegally, and this law will fight them physically and legally, this is not about the hispanic people, or mexican's, but illegal immigrant's.

    April 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  6. Gen

    When it comes to Arizona, I don’t believe its main concern is trying to find a viable solution. I think it’s more of a scared tactic approach which clearly sends a message stating “ I don’t like you or want you here.” So that people of that ethnicity think twice about coming to that part of the country. They know this legislation won’t pass, it’s just sending a message.

    April 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm |

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