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PHOENIX – Police officers trying to enforce a controversial new Arizona immigration law cannot use race to form a suspicion that someone is in the country illegally, but can rely on people’s ability to speak English, their dress and whether they are in an area where illegal immigrants congregate, according to new state guidelines released Thursday. The 90-minute training DVD and accompanying paperwork will be distributed to 15,000 local law enforcement officers statewide charged with enforcing the sweeping new law, which is scheduled to take effect July 29.
WASHINGTON – In his first major speech on the issue since taking office, President Barack Obama said Thursday that the U.S. immigration system “offends our most basic American values” and blamed Republican opposition for thwarting critically needed change. It was the third time in as many days that Obama singled out Republicans as an obstructionist force, blaming them in his earlier appearances for defending the BP company in the aftermath of the Gulf Coast oil spill and for opposing stronger financial regulatory legislation.
FREMONT, Neb. – Angered by a recent influx of Hispanic workers attracted by jobs at local meatpacking plants, voters in the eastern Nebraska city of Fremont will decide today whether to ban hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants. The vote will be the culmination of a two-year fight that saw proponents collect enough signatures to put the question to a public vote. If the ordinance is approved, the community of 25,000 people could face a long and costly court battle. Either way, the emotions stirred up won’t settle quickly.
PHOENIX – Emboldened by passage of the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigration, the Arizona politician who sponsored the measure now wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents. Legal scholars laugh out loud at Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce’s proposal and warn that it would be blatantly unconstitutional, since the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama received Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the Oval Office on Thursday, but the two made no progress in bridging the enormous gulf that divides them – and the country – over illegal immigration and border security. Brewer, who recently signed a controversial law requiring Arizona police to check the status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants, wants more federal resources – including troops, helicopters, aerial drones and fences – devoted to controlling her state’s border with Mexico.
WASHINGTON – Top Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge that could be filed in federal court in Arizona asserting that the state’s new immigration law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s inherent authority to police the nation’s Southwest border with Mexico, sources said Wednesday. At the same time, the government officials said, the department’s civil rights division is considering possible legal action against the law on the basis that it amounts to racial profiling of Latinos who are legally in Arizona but conceivably could be asked to provide documents proving their citizenship.
WASHINGTON – Under pressure to take action, President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border, pre-empting Republican efforts to force a congressional vote to send the troops. Obama will also request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, according to lawmakers and administration officials.
WASHINGTON – The presidents of Mexico and the United States offered a united front during a state visit Wednesday – not just against brutal drug cartels but against Arizona and its tough new law that puts police on the front lines of immigration enforcement. The joint rebuke left border-control advocates steaming, reflecting intense feelings that for years have stymied efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.
In debating the price and necessity of jails (see the opposite page), it helps to know the national context. With the spending surge on criminal justice since the 1990s, you’d think we’re in the midst of a perpetual crime wave. But that isn’t true. It’s more accurate to say that actual crime has failed to keep pace with the fear of crime. In 2008, the United States took the lead worldwide in the total number and percentage of the population that it puts behind bars, whether it’s a prison or a jail.
If we really wanted immigration reform, we'd have had it years ago.In 2006, President George W. Bush supported a proposal that would've required undocumented immigrants to take English classes and pay fines and back taxes in exchange for guest worker status and, eventually, citizenship. "I know this is an emotional debate," said Bush. "But one thing we cannot lose sight of is that we're talking about human beings, decent human beings that need to be treated with respect."