July 28, 2010
A long legal battle is expected after a ruling on a controversial immigration law. A federal judge has taken most of the "teeth" out of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration. The law was supposed to take effect Thursday.
The judge issued a temporary injunction blocking many aspects of the law, including a requirement that police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. It also halts a requirement for all immigrants to carry papers with them at all times.
Arizona's Governor says she will appeal the ruling. The case will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court, which means it could set a precedent for all other states.
Some similar legislation was introduced in the Kansas House this past legislative session, but it was dismissed before it even went to a vote. But lawmakers say the push for reform is far from over, and Wednesday's decision could make an impact on the future of immigration.
"I stated then, and I'm stating again now, we knew that this isn't consistent with our American values, it's not consistent with the constitutional law," said Democratic KS Rep. Delia Garcia of Wichita.
But not everyone is celebrating Wednesday's federal ruling on Arizona's immigration law.
"The federal government shouldn't be interfering with state's constitutional efforts to solve state problems," said James Franko of the Kansas Policy Institute.
Even though Wednesday's decision was on Arizona law, lawmakers say it will impact Kansas.
"I think eventually every state is going to have to face up to the problem that our state budgets are being strained by the presence of people who are here without a legal status," said Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt.
One thing both sides agree on, is the immigration system in America is broken. It's something immigrants in Kansas say they know first-hand.
"I get a lot of job offers, and I can't take them, and the reason why I can't take them is because I'm not a citizen. And it takes a lot of money, a lot of time to become a citizen," said a woman who did not want to be identified. She tells KAKE News she has been working to get citizenship for more than ten years.
So, while some say reform should happen at a state level, others believe it's a federal issue.
"While the bill might not have been perfect, this is a completely rational response from a border state to try and fix a problem that they feel," said Franko.
"The state of Arizona was trying to make federal immigration laws at the state level, and it just doesn't make sense," said Garcia.