Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events. To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto www.keizertimes.com and click on In the Ring.
This week’s question: What do you think of Arizona’s new immigration law, and how should the federal government respond?
Roy Duncan, retired Oregon state analyst—
I am personally offended when our president, who practically rides a helicopter to his mailbox and has 24/7/365 protection, interjects his opinion into a state where government is trying to deal with invading criminals bringing drugs in and killing citizens but he does nothing to deal with what, all agree, is a federal responsibility.
I would not suggest that every state enact draconian policies but Arizona is a sovereign state that, in absence of Washington D.C. fulfilling its responsibilities, is trying to solve problems. When those elected to take care of this kind of business step up then Arizona might not find it necessary.
Vic Backlund, former state representative—
I think Arizona’s anti-immigration bill is a result of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to do its rightful job of controlling the Arizona border. The bill surely over-reacts and likely gives too much authority to the police to make determinations about illegals.
I think the governor of Arizona was under considerable pressure to sign the bill. The Arizona governor is engaged in a primary fight and I have the feeling that she felt that if she did not sign the bill, she would lose the primary. So, politics rules again.
The federal government has been remiss in its obligation to control the U.S. borders. The federal government seems poised to try to deal with the issue, but I predict that nothing really serious will happen until after the November elections. President Bush had a plan to deal with the issue, but his plan was rejected by the Congress. Again, I feel that it was politics that dominated the issue. Too many congressmen and senators were reluctant to support that bill because of the fear that they might not be re-elected if they supported it.
Stu Crosby, MultiTech Engineering —
I would hope every state would adopt the Arizona law or one very much like it. The issue is not about discrimination against the Mexican people, it is about control of a runaway problem. In the southeast it is Haitians and Cubans, in the southwest it is Mexicans and Chinese, for example. It is so attractive to come here for both people seeking a better life and the criminal to peddle his wares, especially the drug trade. The Arizona law is indeed a hard call but one that has to be made. Come here legally and earn your citizenship, you are very welcome.
Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting—
The state of Arizona acted because the federal government did not. It would not surprise me if other states follow in Arizona’s foot steps. This is a no-win situation. I doubt the federal government will pass an immigration bill this year because it, too, will wind up in the court system. Besides, why pass a federal immigration bill in an election year when you can polarize the voting public with the issue?
One state had the courage to do what other national leaders could and probably will not do. The sad part is all sides will lose. We have people living and working in this country who are not United States citizens. They need and deserve an answer. I believe Arizona acted out of frustration. Is it good legislation? That will be up to history and the courts.
Arizona’s stand is a symptom of much larger issues. One state took action that represents a growing national concern regarding our borders. At least they did something. Someone once said there is no sin in failing. There is only sin in not trying.
Kimberly Strand, owner, Willamette Valley Real Estate—
Immigration is a tough issue when families are concerned. I do believe, If you want to come to America, do it legally and learn the language. Speak English if you want to live here, read and write English if you want to live here. We have made it too easy to welcome illegals to our country by assimilating the language into our daily lives. Everywhere you go the signs, the directions and our class rooms are all in English and Spanish. If it was harder for illegals to blend in it might not be so easy for them to get in and stay. America was built on immigration, legal immigration.