Real immigration reform needed

I blogged recently that New York will no longer participate in the federal government's Secure Communities program. Massachusetts announced its opposition last week.

Here is today's New York Times editorial on immigration reform:

The [Secure Communities] program sends the fingerprints of every person booked by state or local police to federal databases to be checked for immigration violations. It was supposed to focus on dangerous felons. But it catches mostly noncriminals and minor offenders, as New York said, “compromising public safety by deterring witnesses to crime and others from working with law enforcement.”

For years Mr. Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has relentlessly pushed forward with immigration enforcement schemes while failing to give any relief to millions desperate to shed their illegal status.

Real reform requires a comprehensive strategy: stricter enforcement plus legalization for the millions whom it would be foolish to uproot from our society and economy. As Mr. Obama has driven deportations to record levels, he has gotten no closer to fixing a failed system. But he has made Republican hard-liners happy by bolstering the noxious argument that all undocumented immigrants are mere criminals, deportees-in-waiting.

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This is a failure of decency and good sense. It merely punishes and does nothing to actually come to grips with the problem of illegal immigration. Resistance has mostly been heard at the ground level, from immigrants and advocates who say families are being split apart, workers frightened and exploited, the American dream dishonored. So it’s good to hear powerful Democrats — Mr. Obama’s friends and allies from large states — telling him that with Secure Communities he has gone way overboard.

....That something else is real immigration reform that combines a path to legality with necessary measures to secure our borders and deport real criminals who are here illegally.


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