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Will Arizona's illegal immigration crackdown spur California into action?

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

California’s legislature seems to be lagging behind on illegal immigration enforcement, putting politics above public safety. The notion that California is in the stone age in immigration matters is underscored by the recent series of events in Arizona, the Golden State's next door neighbor that faces many of the same problems.

Arizona’s citizens were recently rocked by the murder of Robert Krentz, presumably committed by an illegal immigrant connected with the ever-present Mexican drug cartel. According to the article in the Tuscon Citizen, Mr. Krentz was killed in an area of Arizona considered a key smuggling corridor for cartels.

Authorities found 300 pounds of marijuana on the Krentz ranch, further lending credence to the suspicion that the murder was the work of illegals crossing the Mexico-Arizona border.  In what may be seen as a swift response to the murder of Mr. Krentz, the Arizona legislature passed strict immigration crackdown measures that have yet to be approved by the state’s Republican governor.

Included in the legislation are provisions that do the following:

    1.    Allow for law enforcement officials to ask the immigration status of an individual suspected of a crime.

    2.    Make it a crime for immigrants to not have documents that allow for them to be in the country.

    3.    Forbid businesses to knowingly hire illegals.

    4.    Forbid the transportation of illegals if the driver knows their immigration status.

Even before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has a chance to sign or veto the bill, she is taking matters into her own hands, ordering an allocation of state National Guard troops as well as state law enforcement officials along the border with Mexico.

Brewer also took aim at the Obama administration’s lax immigration enforcement policies.  "The responsibility to ensure that we have an orderly, secure border — not just some imaginary line or a rickety fence — belongs to the federal government, and they have failed," Brewer said according to the AP.

The fundamental question that arises at this point for California residents is whether their legislature will adopt similar measures as its Arizona counterparts.  According to The Sun, an Inland Empire-based paper, similar measures taking place in California are unlikely given that the political climate is entirely different from sentiment in Arizona.

For one, the California Republican Party doesn’t even have a united stance on the issue.  For another, there’s also the partisan gridlock between the Democrats and Republicans as whole, two parties increasingly influenced by an ever-growing Hispanic population in deciding what kind of legislation to support.

There’s also the back and forth sparring between groups on whether tackling the illegal immigration constitutes racial profiling, according to the Sun’s article.

At this point, it seems as if partisan bickering is getting in the way of legitimate action in tackling the illegal immigration problem in California.

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