The news that U.S. Judge Susan Bolton blocked major sections of Arizona's SB 1070 law from going into effect has naturally made headlines around the world. However, in quite an ironic way, this land of immigrants has become known as the land of immigrant intolerance.
That is not the American way, or is it? The United States, despite its history and origins, has a legacy of anti-immigrant fervor. A visit to Ellis Island in New York Harbor is an eye-opening lesson on the anti-immigrant sentiment throughout our history. Some of the newspaper articles written decades ago about the Germans, the Chinese, the Irish, are eerily similar to the articles today about Mexicans and other Latinos.
Today's immigration conundrum reflects earlier challenges that the country faced, but there are significant differences. Our country has developed an immigration system that is seriously flawed and one that has created our current crisis. The Arizona situation has focused a spotlight on the problem, and regardless of one's views, the critique is consistent: Washington has failed to act. Blame can be placed on both parties: Democrats in competitive seats insist on avoiding a vote on immigration reform for fear of losing their seats, and some Republicans see inaction on immigration as a winning issue in November by exploiting the public's frustration.
Missing in all of this is leadership, from both parties. While our leaders wring their hands, America is suffering, and the fervor is at its fever-pitch worst.
We are better than this.
We need action on comprehensive immigration reform, and we need it now.