In absence of direction from the Federal Government, States and Cities are passing laws to deal with illegal immigration. States such as Arizona, North Carolina and Texas have all put more laws in the books making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to work, travel or move freely. Vermont and some California Cities have passed laws making it harder for police to enforce already existing laws dealing with illegal immigrants. It has become clear that as jobs have grown more scarce the problem of illegal immigration is not just being dealt with in the border states anymore.
The Federal Government has taken an active position on the subject. President Obama has asked the Justice Department to actively help challenge laws passed in Arizona which the States says are necessary to help local officials enforce Federal Laws. At the same time he has instructed the Attorney general not to interfere when cities vote to become “Sanctuaries” (places where local authorities are instructed not to enforce immigration laws).
A spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder had this to say on the subject:
“There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law, that’s what Arizona did in this case.”
The Republican primaries have also had there share of talk about illegal immigration, with front-runner Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry taking heat from contenders Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul as being soft on illegal immigrants. Recent polls have shown that 66% of Americans favor some form of program that lets illegal immigrants apply for citizenship as long as they meet Federal Requirements.
2012 being an election year, it is likely that this issue is going to be raised to a much higher level than in other years. States and Cities will have the chance to have their platforms debated at the national level as the candidates look to use this issue to drum up support for their own positions.
Do you favor giving illegal immigrants to this country the ability to qualify for citizenship?