The passage of Senate Bill 1070 marks a terrifying turn of events, not only for Arizona but for the United States as a whole. Anyone who lives in or visits Arizona may now be stopped if a law-enforcement official has "reasonable suspicion" to believe that he or she is unlawfully present.
As the son and grandson of immigrants - and as an American - I am outraged by this decision. Arizona's new law invites racial profiling and puts police officers themselves in an impossible position, by requiring them, in effect, to violate the rights of people they are sworn to protect.
This law is unwise, unsafe and unconstitutional. Indeed, it is un-American.
Arizona's action cannot stand:
(1) Today I ask the U.S. Department of Justice to file for injunctive relief in federal court to prohibit the enforcement of the Arizona statute.
(2) I urge the Attorney General to dispatch a legal team to Arizona to defend the Constitutional rights of those affected by this reckless law.
(3) I call on Congress to replace Arizona's misguided effort with federal action - now long overdue.
We need comprehensive immigration reform. What Arizona has enacted is a poor and dangerous substitute.
Comprehensive reform means securing our borders. It means enforcing the laws against drug running, smuggling, and human trafficking. It means providing a path by which individuals who are willing to work hard, pay taxes and play by the rules can enjoy legal status in a society that benefits from their labor. (Read my 10-point plan here )
The haphazard enforcement of our immigration laws - and Washington's failure to reform them - have split families, sown fear and confusion, and undermined respect for the rule of law itself. While Congress dodges the debate over immigration reform, states are expected to pay for mandates they cannot afford and to address a problem they cannot solve.
We deserve better. We deserve a fair and practical system that preserves our nation's security, strengthens our economy, and reflects our values. That is the approach I will champion as a member of the U.S. Senate