A federal appeals court affirmed an injunction placed on Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070 last Monday, further halting action against illegal immigration in the state.
It’s become increasingly clear that more resources are being used to prevent illegal immigration than to enhance legal immigration in the United States.
This ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came a year after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer initially proposed SB 1070, which would require law enforcement officials to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, which many say will lead to racial profiling.
The proposed law would require all immigrants to have their registration documents on hand at all times.
The law has incited the ire of immigrants and civil rights activists and drawn national attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform not only in Arizona, but nationally.
In response to the law’s controversial provisions, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Brewer’s law in July, arguing that only the federal government can enforce immigration laws.
Brewer lamented that the ruling puts “the safety and well-being of Arizonans” in jeopardy.
Though I agree with Brewer, the very proposal of the law is a sign of the federal government’s failure to fulfill its duty of securing our border and enhancing the lives of well-deserving and legal immigrants.
The fact that Arizona’s lawmakers felt the need to use local law enforcement to do the job of border patrol, thus distracting them from concentrating on protecting Arizonans, shows the effectiveness of our immigration system has hit rock-bottom.
The bigger problem, however, lies in the law’s definition of illegal: Both dangerous criminals and honest, hard-working individuals wishing to make a life for themselves are considered illegal.
It is troubling that a country founded on the ideals of democracy and hard work has still not made the distinction between these two groups and, as such, has not yet simplified the process for Mexican citizens and others to legally come to America.
It’s not that we should let everyone in just because they want to be here. But our country should allow more hard workers to prove their worth to our country by making it easier to obtain a worker visa, an idea Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed repeatedly since 2003, but which has been regrettably shot down.
We can no longer lump law-abiding and dangerous immigrants together.
By keeping the difficult immigration process the same, the federal government is merely perpetuating the influx of non-taxpaying illegal immigrants, both dangerous and well-intentioned, into a country already buried in debt.
Not only would a different approach to immigration allow immigrants to contribute their work and ideas to our diverse nation, it would increase our tax revenue and make it easier for border patrol to stop the potentially dangerous immigrants and those who are not willing to go through the process legally from entering the country and causing harm to our citizens.
America’s economic success was built on the backs of immigrants who were able to come here legally. Their innovation, hard work and passion for the opportunities America had to offer helped to create the country we live in today. We should honor that legacy.
Withholding this same chance from people willing to go through a reasonable immigration process is un-American, as is the government’s failure to protect the citizens who suffer because of its inaction.
Immigrants today aren’t of a lesser caliber than those in the days of my great-great-grandfather, who came to America from Spain 100 years ago, and to suppose otherwise does a great injustice to those who want to be here for the same reasons we do.
Sarah Cueva is a freshman majoring in political science