Battle to Resolve Illegal Immigration Continues
It has been eight months since Arizona initiated a new law to regulate the illegal immigration issue affecting the state. After continuously requesting an intervention from Congress, other states decided that it was time to take action and follow in the steps of Arizona, either by passing the same laws or modifying them to fit each state’s needs.
Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 enforces a federal law which states that failure to carry immigration documents is considered a crime, and also gives police increased power to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. On January 19, the Mississippi State Senate passed SB 2179, which mimics Arizona’s law. SB 2179 makes it a state crime to be caught without immigration papers and allows law enforcement to arrest a person believed to be in the country illegally.
Lawmakers in Texas, another state to adopt similar laws, originally had a mixed reaction to the illegal immigration battle, but later felt responsible for not taking the matter more seriously. State police officers have previously been required to determine if a prisoner in custody is also wanted in other states. The newly proposed bill will also require local police to check the immigration status of detainees, a process that will go through Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Fox News.
Utah is writing its own version of Arizona’s immigration law; however, instead of enforcing police patrols, the law will require employers to check the immigration status of employees through a computer system called E-Verify to determine their legal status. If found illegal, those individuals might be removed from their jobs and will not be eligible for welfare or other benefits. Newly elected Florida governor Rick Scott will soon require Florida employers to use E-Verify, PolitiFact Florida reported.
Illegal immigration threatens our national economy, education, medical costs and the country’s stability.
In Ohio, the state senate passed Bill 150, which will stretch the rights of local law enforcement to assist federal immigration officials in dealing with illegal immigrants, notably in the form of deporting them out of Ohio. Sheriffs will be able to help investigate and hold illegal aliens in detention if they violate federal immigration laws. The law gives local law enforcement a wider range of capabilities, according to the Ohio Times-Gazette.
However, it doesn’t stop there. In Georgia, the state Board of Regents voted to ban illegal immigrant students from attending public state universities. Previously, laws required undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition in order to attend college in Georgia, regardless of their residency status. Georgia is now one of three states to bar undocumented immigrants from higher education at public universities, along with South Carolina and Alabama, according to Color Lines News for Action.
In California, proposed bill HR 1868 seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act in an attempt to end birthright citizenship guaranteed to babies born in the U.S. to illegal parents. The bill will clarify the status of “individuals in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the country at birth,” reports the California Independent Voter Network. Only children with at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident would be considered citizens. The United States and Canada are the only developed nations that grant birthright citizenship.
As control in the House of Representatives shifts from Democrat to Republican, the focus on immigration will also shift. Now that the 2012 race for the White House presidential seat heats up, so will the battle against illegal immigration.
- Arizona SB 1070 allows law enforcement to inquire about a person’s status in the course of “any lawful stop, detention or arrest…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.”
- Mississippi SB 2179 allows law enforcement officers to question any person’s immigration status only if they are also enforcing other laws, such as a traffic violation.
By Edwive Seme
Read previous OUTLOUD coverage of the battle against illegal immigration: “Birthright Citizenship” Up For Debate
Other States Follow Arizona’s Lead
Show Me Your Papers!