Arizona Law Puts Immigration on American's Minds

May 7, 2010 by
Categories: Arizona, Immigration Reform

by CBS News

(CBS) Agree with it or loathe it, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Arizona's immigration legislation.

"It's stupid," said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona. "And it's racist."

San Francisco's mayor just banned official travel to Arizona. City councils in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles are considering similar measures, reports CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

"We want them to be the last state that does this," says Los Angeles City councilwoman Janice Hahn.

At the same time, a flurry of editorials are thanking Arizona for putting the immigration issue on the nation's front burner for the first time since 2007, when a major bipartisan reform bill backed by President Bush went down in flames.

"We're at this point because of the inability and the timid attitude about dealing with comprehensive reform at a national level," said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

On Wednesday a group of House Democrats called on Senate leaders to revive languishing immigration legislation.

"The words 'show me your papers' we've known from movies of World War II coming out of the mouth of a Nazi," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

The bill being crafted by Sen. Chuck Schumer and others would step up patrols on the border, and then allow some illegal immigrants to get in line to become U.S. residents.

But it's running up against the reality of this summer's packed legislative calendar, which includes financial reform and Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., dialed back expectations he raised recently that immigration reform might move to the top of the agenda.

"It's obvious that we have an Energy bill that's ahead of the Immigration bill," said the Senate majority leader. "It's just the way things work around here."

"What Democrats are trying to do is show that they are willing," said CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. "That they want to tackle the issue so that they can say to Hispanic voters, 'on this issue that you care about, we're fighting for you.'"