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Rep. Black's dumb new bill

Felicia Persaud | 2/8/2012, 7:05 p.m.
Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now!

On the last day of January, a Republican lawmaker in Congress introduced a bill that can only be regarded as dumb.

Rep. Diane Black used Jan. 31 to introduce H.R. 3842. The bill-which comes on the heels of a report that Alabama's controversial immigration law is costing the state's economy up to a whopping $10.8 billion annually-calls for the Department of Justice and the Obama administration to be prohibited from pursuing lawsuits against states like Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama over their controversial new immigration laws.

Black, who must not be paying any attention to the Constitution or to federal rules on the books, insisted that "Congress must support every state's right to enforce the law and protect their own citizens without fear of retribution from the federal government."

Really? Then, Madame Black, why do we need you in Washington? States should simply all become mini-countries within the United States and govern themselves, according to your logic.

The bill is completely stupid and a waste of time; it smacks of being just what it accuses the Obama administration-politically motivated.

Except Black is wrong. In pursuing these lawsuits, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department are simply upholding the federal rules that say only the federal government has the right to enforce the immigration laws of the country. Several appellate justices have already agreed with this, citing the 14th Amendment prohibiting state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness.

In fact, the courts have ruled that, while they are within the borders of the United States, undocumented immigrants are granted the same fundamental, undeniable constitutional rights as all Americans.

What states like Alabama are doing is undoubtedly a violation of the law and the Constitution and could lead to the racial profiling of even immigrant U.S. citizens because of an accent or the color of their skin.

What Black and her companions in the Senate, including Sens. Jim DeMint, David Vitter and Jeff Sessions, should be doing is finding a commonsense way to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, instead of following their usual party line and making everything a political blame game.

As Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said last week in her second annual address on the state of America's homeland security: "The bottom line is that our nation's current immigration laws are sorely outdated and in need of revision."

Enough with the excuses that the Obama administration has not worked hard to close the borders and the scapegoating of immigrants.

Deportation rates are at a record high, as are deportation arrests. No Republican administration has done as much to crack down on the problem of illegal crossing and criminal deportation as this administration has. Black and her cohorts need to face the reality and get to work on a solution, rather than wasting time on nonsensical bills like H.R. 3842.

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.