Show me your green card
In April, Arizona passed a law that requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they have "reasonable suspicion" is in the country illegally. The new law has been criticized by President Obama and numerous immigrant rights groups, but both Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said that the state's action results from a lack of federal action on immigration reform.
American City & County asked the readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter if other states should pass laws similar to the one in Arizona. Below are some of the responses.
"Yes, all 50 states should pass the same type of illegal alien law that Arizona just passed. [Federal officials] refuse to enforce the laws already on the books. It's very obvious that the [Democrats] are pandering for votes in November in trying to pass a sweeping amnesty bill through Congress without the consent or blessing of 'we the people.' I thought former President [Ronald] Reagan said that we would have no more amnesty laws passed after his amnesty debacle in the early 1980s. 'We the people' are fed up with the inaction of [President Barack] Obama and the current Congress. The United States of America will have to take over and do the job the feds won't do or refuse to do. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now. If you think the stink over Obama's absurd healthcare bill was bad, you ain't seen nuttin' yet when it comes to giving amnesty to illegal aliens from any country. America was built on the foundation of legal immigrants migrating to the U.S. of A. in hopes of a better life. These legal immigrants put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into becoming U.S. citizens by learning our language, culture [and] laws, respecting our sovereign borders, and learning our history. My ancestors, too, came to America legally and made a better life for themselves with a lot of hard work. I'm all for more legal immigrants coming to our great country to make a better life for themselves. Just don't break our laws doing it, and then riot in the streets and demand that we grant you citizenship. Don't usurp our education, medical care, welfare and overall generosity by invading our country illegally. It ain't gonna happen, my friend, not without a fight."
— Dave Bakke, irrigation consultant, Global Span Products, Campbell, Calif.
"Yes. The [federal authorities] have abdicated their responsibility."
— Roy Cavanaugh, public works director, Watertown, Conn.
"Yes the states should pass immigration laws. They are footing the bill for the illegal immigrants, [so] why not be able to control costs? The Congress enacts laws and mandates and doesn't concern [itself] with paying for them. I hope Congress faces up to this dilemma soon, but probably not as they see a lot of democratic voters amongst the 'new' legal citizens."
— Keith Coe, former equipment rental business owner, Queensbury, N.Y.
"I am in 100 percent agreement with what Arizona did. They have a problem that the federal government refuses to fix. I think other states should enact the same law. Maybe someone in Washington will eventually get the message."
— Bill Deckett, fire chief, East Tawas, Mich.
"U.S. states should not have to pass 'local' immigration laws like the newest 'mess' in Arizona, [which] has caused a rift in the state, made the mercurial John McCain an even more marginalized [politician] than he had become [after] his ill-fated run with Sarah the 'quitter/complainer' Palin, and [which] will do no real good with regard to the diverse and complicated problem of illegals in [Arizona], citizenship and workforce issues and the cost to public sector of health care and criminal justice. Since the second term of [Former President George Bush], momentum for federal legislation and real reform, not just border control and racial profiling, was seemingly on the list of Congress and [the executive branch] to 'get 'er done'. Now, like health care, banking/investment and housing reform, economic recovery and the end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, national level solutions to real, significant and long-term problems are being hijacked by politically incorrect jingoists who are pandering to the fringes of the voting public in the guise of getting elected and making this country or that state 'safe' for all of us native-born Americans. This country was founded by displaced vagabonds [who were] escaping religious prosecution and tyrannical monarchies. I guess the Statue of Liberty needs to have a new plaque put on its base — Only give me your tired, hungry, etc., who have birth certificates and drivers' licenses officially issued by Republicans in [Arizona, Texas and California] since 2009, or that you procured from the Glen Beck media juggernaut, and all others go back from whence you came or we'll round you up and put you in deportation camps and pretend we are an enlightened, democratic society."
— Jay Gsell, Genese County, N.Y.
"Yes, states should pass immigration laws to protect the state and citizens. Obviously, the federal government is not doing anything to correct this problem. Along with this, states should not allow any illegal aliens access to any type of heathcare."
— Brian Napoli, supervisor, Ridgeway, N.Y.
"All states should have the same laws as those just passed [in Arizona]. This new law could be what Washington needs to push them to action on immigration. This problem costs the [United States] entirely too much money and jobs, as well. I've got no problem with immigrants who are here legally. The [country] was formed by immigrants wanting to make a better life for themselves."
— Bill Paxton, retired civil engineer, Maineville, Ohio
"Most definitely. If the federal government fails to provide that protection, the states have no choice and have a duty to protect their citizens."
— Darrel Pyle, city manager, Tulare, Calif.
"I, and everyone with whom I've discussed Arizona's new immigration law, applaud [Gov. Brewer], Arizona's legislature and the people of Arizona for stepping up to the plate and taking action where the [federal authorities] have failed to live up to the enforcement of federal law. Georgia has some enforcement laws on its books, and there are jurisdictions where the law is being strictly enforced. I will be encouraging Georgia legislators to follow in Arizona's footsteps. [Illegal immigrants], by their very presence, have broken our laws and, without enforcement, these laws are useless. The [federal authorities] have two major problems with this law. One, they lose the potential for all those illegal votes, and extradition is both time consuming and costly. Housing, feeding, courts and plane rides back to the illegal's home country is something the [federal authorities] will approach with little enthusiasm. But, on a federal perspective, this will create more federal jobs. Conversely, strict prosecution of those who hire [illegal immigrants] will create jobs for our legal workers and help reduce our 9.7 percent unemployment rate."
— Don Rehwaldt, mayor, Tyrone, Ga.