A strong editorial in today’s Washington Post sheds some light on why a number of Jewish groups think Arizona’s new illegal immigration law is stupid and dangerous.
The Post writes that the new law ‘will turn immigrants who came here illegally into quarry for law enforcement agencies statewide,” and that it “twists the Constitution."
Read the whole editorial here.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said “this inhumane and retrogressive bill virtually invites racial and ethnic profiling by broadly defining reasonable suspicion of undocumented status as grounds for questioning by police officers. Allowing an individual’s accent or skin color to precipitate an investigation into his or her legal status is an anathema to American values of justice and our historic status as a nation of immigrants. The bill is also likely to endanger our communities by discouraging immigrants from cooperating with law enforcement on issues of national security.”
Groups like the RAC and HIAS hope the controversy surrounding the Arizona law will spur passage of long-delayed comprehensive immigration reform, which they hope will include both enforcement provisions and a route to citizenship for those here illegally.
But hey, this is an election year and anti-immigration groups, peddling fear about crime, terrorism and lost jobs, are always louder than those who want balanced legislation. And I don’t see many signs this Congress, already spooked by the anti-incumbent mood of the electorate and the tea partiers, are going to put themselves on the firing line to get it done.