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Should states fill the immigration law void left by the feds? [Most commented]

August 17, 2011 |  2:24 pm

People rally against Georgia's new immigration law.
This month, the Department of Justice sued Alabama to block a contentious new immigration law that requires police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants, landlords to verify their tenants' immigration status and schools to check if students are here legally. The state, however, contends that the law would assist federal agents by turning over more illegal immigrants to the agency that can deport them. The Obama administration has done little to stop laws like this from popping up across the nation, and it needs to step up and create a federal policy, The Times’ Eeitorial board wrote Wednesday.

The Obama administration can't deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in this country. It must set priorities. That's hard to do when states pass laws that redirect federal resources. The Department of Homeland Security must be free to focus enforcement efforts on those illegal immigrants who pose a real danger to communities, not those who are merely in this country to work.

State and local authorities have every right to be frustrated with the lack of leadership from Washington on this issue. But the answer is federal immigration reform, not more bad law from the states. As the Obama administration properly moves to block those laws, it also needs to supply an alternative.

Readers on the discussion board are in favor of states leading the way with laws to curb illegal immigration to supplement the lack of effective federal leadership on the issue.

If Alabama can't pass this law, maybe California should repeal its Dream Act

People in California need to learn how to mind their own business. If you can tell Alabama what laws to pass concerning illegal aliens, then maybe outsiders can tell you the same. For example maybe we should require that California repeal its "Dream" act. I'm sure there are lots of other laws that you have passed that could be construed as contradicting and obstructing the clear intent of congress regarding who can and cannot be in this country legally. If the federal government has jurisdiction over Illegals, then this works both ways. Laws that help and support Illegals are as improper as laws that  hurt Illegals.

--Hacim Obmed

Immigrants who don't come to the U.S. legally should expect nothing but a ticket home

Alabama is on the right path. The Feds are not doing their jobs at the cost of the States. Enough is enough.

The civil rights groups must be cashing in heavily on this little fiasco of theirs. I've never seen such a group of disrespectful fools.

Immigrants have an obligation to fulfill before obtaining legal status. There are forms to fill out. It's the first step into the right direction. Supporting illegal immigration sends the message that it is ok to disrespect US laws. It would be similar to just walking into a school, without being admitted, and expecting a diploma. It's like hanging out at a company without being hired and expecting a salary. It would represent showing up at the White House and expecting to become president for sitting around long enough, hidden in the Oval Office without having gone through an election.

Treat the US as you would treat your home, because it is your home. I doubt anyone would accept an uninvited stranger into their home who simply decides to take over a room and then expects to keep it. Think people, please start respecting your country, start respecting the citizens and those who legally immigrated.

I'll welcome any legal immigrant from anywhere with open arms. The illegals, however, need to finally learn what it means to immigrate legally and not expect anything for not doing so - except their immediate return.

--clxLAT

The federal government should lead, follow or get out of the way

As I said on the first post on this thread, the Feds need to "Lead, Follow or Get out of the way."

If they "lead", their proposals will never succeed if they contain amnesty of any sort. They can be as "Comprehensive" as they like without that provision.

--Kurfco

If this law applied to a different illegal practice, there wouldn't be such a fuss about states regulating it

So let's replace illegal immigrant with Machine Gun.  It's against Federal law to own a machine gun without proper permits.  Now you're a state.  you start to see a lot of machine guns so you pass a law saying hey, if you're carrying a machine gun, we're gonna check you for permits.  Can you imagine the ACLU coming in to sue you saying HEY!! that's the FED's job!  Stop checking people to see if they have a permit for a machine gun and let the Feds do their job!   yeah, right.

--Anonymous.

We haven't had immigration reform because President Obama needs those votes

Stop coddling illegals. The so called leader of the Country is not doing his job, he views illegal immigrants as votes. The only way he will be elected again is to get more people in the country that expect freebies. That includes citizens who are out of work, probably will take years to get a job (as long as the current dude is in our white house), so he will continue to give away freebies. The dude builds his $1.1 million bus in Canada, places a tax on medical devices, placing 1800 workers in the unemployment lines. The saga continues.

--golfman f

The real question is why states are having to pass immigration legislation? Where is the federal government?

Yet another willfully-blind opinion from the LA Times.  The Federal government deliberately refuses to enforce our immigration laws.  So asking the Administration to enforce laws that it intentionally ignores is completely pointless.  Why doesn't the LA Times ask the hard questions:  WHY are so many states now enacting their own immigration-related measures?  WHY is the Federal government NOT enforcing immigration laws instead?  WHY are there 11 million illegal immigrants in this nation, and WHY should we continue deferring enforcement strictly to the Feds when they permitted, indeed encouraged, that situation?  When you strike out 11 million times, some people might suspect that you aren't taking the game seriously.  But the LA Times is laughably unwilling to engage with any of the serious issues motivating this conflict.

Our current administration has spent far more time and energy fighting to stop others from preventing illegal immigration than it has spent enforcing our immigration laws.  If Obama spent half the energy enforcing immigration law that he does in combating the states, we wouldn't need this debate.  But because the Feds are spitting on our immigration laws, refusing to enforce the will of the electorate, states are stepping in.

--M. Rover

Under this law, dark-skinned citizens will have to prove they're Americans

As a Citizen who also has darker skin, I would have to constantly prove to idiots that I am a Citizen.  To hell with that.   I still value the 4th Amendment.  And if all you right wing stooges think that is acceptable in USA, then I fear that it is you who are more dangerous to USA than the illegal aliens.

--crotherm

We can't deport all of them, but with these types of laws, they'll deport themselves

Laws like the ones passed in Arizona, Alabama and other states have caused many illegal immigrants to pack up and leave.  While it's true the government doesn't have the resources to deport all 12 million illegals living here, with laws like the ones that have recently passed, illegals deport themselves.  Problem Solved.

--Elysian_Fields_99

*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.

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Photo: People hold signs while participating in a march and rally against Georgia's strict new immigration law on July 2 in Atlanta. Credit: Erik S. Lesser / Associated Press

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