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Immigration Debate Continues

By aaroncynic in News on May 20, 2010 9:30PM

Kevin Robinson/Chicagoist
The national fervor surrounding Arizona’s controversial immigration legislation shows no signs of tapering off. While Sarah Palin is urging states to follow Arizona down the road to a “papers, please” society, even some officials who have closer ties to the issue question the state’s recent immigration law. The Tribune reports in a visit to Chicago yesterday, John Morton, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Arizona’s new law is not “good government.” In a meeting with the Trib’s editorial board, Morton also said that his agency may not process illegal immigrants arrested in Arizona under the new law. While he did say that his agency would step up enforcement of immigration laws, he said “the best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws.”

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, visiting for the state dinner, also criticized Arizona, saying in a joint session to Congress "I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona. It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree, but also introduced a terrible idea using racial profiling for law enforcement." Even whole cities are getting into scraps with the state. In response to Los Angeles' boycott of the state, Arizona power commissioner Gary Pierce threatened to cut off the city’s power supply.

Back here in Chicagoland, immigrants rights advocates will hold a 53 mile walk from Chicago to the McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, Illinois. The jail contains a detention facility for suspected illegal immigrants being held before deportation. The walk organizers, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, hope to raise awareness and show opposition to the "Secure Communities" program, which several collar counties have signed onto. The program fast tracks deportations for people that ICE deems the most dangerous.