The Road to Immigration Enforcement Is Slow But Steady

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

April 19, 2011
Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce, author of S.B. 1070, has a message for the patriotic immigration reform movement. Our battle cannot be won "overnight." I’ll amend Pearce’s statement to read "in a year or maybe even longer." In his Politco. com op-ed, Pearce specifically referred to the five failed bills he introduced earlier this year to reduce immigration and to eliminate the birthright citizenship provision for children born to aliens. Said Pearce: "I know that the Arizona-led battle to enforce U.S. immigration laws cannot be won overnight." Although any defeat is discouraging, if viewed in perspective, we’re marching toward victory. Enforcement minded legislation like Pearce’s and several similar bills in the U.S. Congress have, with concerned citizens’ support, picked up steam. As Pearce pointed out in his column, Pew Hispanic Center and Rasmussen polls show that Americans still approve by a 2-1 margin of S.B. 1070’s intent to require that under certain circumstances illegal aliens must produce proof of immigration status. For more than forty years, since the 1965 Immigration Act, the wealthier and more influential immigration advocacy forces have had their way. Presidential administrations ranging from Lyndon Johnson through Barack Obama used their bully pulpits to lobby for more immigration. The presidential list includes even conservative Republican Gerald Ford who played an instrumental role in allowing in a major influx of post-war Southeast Asian refugees into the United States. That’s over now. Momentum is on our side. The November 2010 Congressional elections placed more than 60 new allies in the House and five in the Senate who campaigned on immigration enforcement. In 2012, expect more like-minded legislators to be elected. To be sure, there’ll be setbacks along the way. As Pearce reminded his colleagues, he introduced S.B. 1070 every year between 2005 to 2009 to no avail before Governor Jan Brewer finally signed it into law last April. Noting his other uphill battles, Pearce pointed to the eventually successful 2004 Proposition 200 which denies certain government benefits to illegal immigrants and prevents voter fraud as well as the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act which mandates E-Verify for all employers, thus opening job opportunities for American workers.

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