After last week's weak immigration baiting editorial from the Arizona Republic, Former Attorney General Grant Woods does a significantly better job explaining the need for real immigration reform. Is this a return for the Republic to a better thought out dialogue, or do they perhaps need to turn the keys over to Mr. Woods and let him take a crack running the page for awhile?
Broad immigration reform long overdue for U.S.
By Grant Woods
As a state and as a nation, as Republicans and as Democrats, we are ready for immigration reform.
Today, at the beginning of a new year, we are closer to real immigration reform than we have been in a generation. As a former Arizona attorney general, I continue to urge Congress to move forward on reform.
Law enforcement is always about prioritizing, and, for obvious reasons, protecting victims and aggressively pursuing those who commit violent crimes must be our top priority.
But our broken immigration system undermines our ability to do both of those things.
Every day, state and local law-enforcement agents face the difficult task of trying to solve crimes when people living in the shadows are fearful that if they report a crime, they may be deported.
Those duly charged with protecting our communities are often thwarted in their investigations when people see them as immigration officers and are afraid to raise their hand.
It breaks my heart to think that crimes go unreported in our communities because of this fear. Violent criminals are emboldened by our antiquated immigration system.
Let me be clear: Being here without proper documentation is a violation of the civil code. And reform must strengthen border security and promote legal immigration.
Especially in times of budget cuts and sequestration, law-enforcement officials need a new immigration process that helps us deter violent and organized crime — not enforce a federal civil violation. Reform is long overdue.
To start, we must recognize that it is physically impossible and would be economically disastrous to deport 11 million of our neighbors.
Additionally, we must realize that these people are our neighbors, the vast majority of whom came here to seek a better life and better opportunities for their families. We worship together, our kids go to school together, and we have a shared future.
Quite simply, broad immigration reform would make our communities safer and law-enforcement operations clearer. Most of our ancestors arrived here from a distant land, in search of a better life. They found this unique land of freedom and opportunity, and we continue to reap the benefits.
I believe that America is exceptional and has a continued destiny for greatness. But we will not be great if we do not act in a fair and compassionate way to the men, women and children who live and work among us, and dream our same dreams.
Progress toward immigration reform in the past year has been amazing, but we do not honor our past or enable our future if we don't finish the job.
Let us restore our faith in the rule of law, forge a more prosperous future for our country and honor our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Arizona and America deserve nothing less.
Grant Woods, a Republican, served as attorney general of Arizona from 1991 to 1999.