Stephanie's Political Arena

Critiques and Perspectives on National Politics and More

Posts Tagged ‘border security

Immigration Reform Back in the Spotlight

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For the first time since legislation to deal with this issue died in Congress three years ago, immigration reform made its way back into the headlines this week. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to be an illegal resident in her state. She immediately faced harsh criticism from pro-illegal immigration advocates and President Obama, who all vowed to challenge the law in the courts. Unless the courts intervene, the new law will take effect in 90 days.

Governor Brewer’s actions reignited the raging debate over immigration reform in the United States as opponents of Arizona’s new law claim that it violates civil rights and will result in racial profiling. What I find interesting in the modern debate over immigration reform is that such opposition to meaningful legislation intended to uphold the rule of law always factors racial politics into the equation. Those who favor border security, for example, are considered racist and their arguments in support of tough immigration reform measures tend to go entirely unnoticed.

The New York Times story today, for instance, focuses on what Arizona’s new law will mean for the state’s Hispanic population, both legal and illegal, and what advocacy groups are hoping to do to prevent it from taking effect. Nowhere in the story, however, is there a single quote from someone in support of the law, such as a family member of Robert Krentz. Krentz, a rancher, was brutally murdered earlier this year by a smuggler crossing the border between Mexico and Arizona. His murder sparked outrage over the ongoing immigration mess in Arizona and pressured state legislators to act by drafting and passing the legislation signed by Governor Brewer.

Other sources the New York Times and its fellow media outlets may wish to consider interviewing for future stories on the immigration debate are Mark Krikorian and Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies. Though Krikorian and Camarota would speak primarily on behalf of the anti-amnesty, pro-border security side of the immigration debate, their knowledge and expertise on the issue would shed a bright light on the underlying facts and data the public needs to be aware of. Too often, as is currently the case, this debate is dominated by the perception of racism and civil rights violations as opposed to the overall impact of illegal immigration on federal and state budgets and the American economy.

Following Governor Brewer’s bold action this week, the debate over immigration reform is here to stay through November’s midterm elections. Already, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are feeling the pressure both from Obama and the public to act on immigration by the end of the current Congressional session. Thus, we’ll likely see more headlines concerning immigration reform in the coming months. The question is: will they be slanted toward the pro-amnesty side? Will they accuse the anti-amnesty side of being racist? Will they even contain the latest immigration data in the U.S?

With an issue as controversial and hotly debated as immigration reform, the public has a right to know every argument made by every side involved in the debate. In this sense, media outlets have an obligation to ensure the public is well-informed of the facts surrounding this issue, and not just the politics involved.

Interestingly, a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports on the new law in Arizona found that 70 percent of likely voters actually favor it.

Written by Stephanie

April 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm