Congress needs to step in on immigration reform

Right now, there's a lot of confusion about what we can do as a state in terms of immigration and what we can't do. 

Hopefully this will help create a bright line that allows us to really know for sure what states can do and what we have to rely on the federal government to do.

I understand Arizonans’ frustration. I’m an Arizona native from Tucson, and I have seen Arizona’s real immigration problems — crime and violence along the border and in our neighborhoods — throughout most of my life.

In Arizona, we are waiting every single day for Congress to gain the moral courage to do what our entire country knows is not only right but imperative, and that is to enact tough and comprehensive reform.

In the absence of federal action, Arizona and other states will continue to try and find their own partial remedies.

That's why it's so important that Congress steps in because we're looking at a patchwork of policies around the nation. This kind of piecemeal system will lead to confusion and problems for people who travel around our nation.

As we already have seen, it has lead to boycotts of Arizona, hurting our state’s businesses and families as well as fears of racial profiling.

A boycott is not the answer and neither is fear mongering about rampant racial profiling. Many problems plague this new law, not in terms of racial profiling, but in putting police in an awkward situation, where they can be at risk for being sued for doing their job or being sued for being perceived to not do their job.

Arizona’s new immigration law is a flawed solution to a very serious problem — crime and violence along the border and in our neighborhoods. There are far better things we can do to solve this problem.

We need a comprehensive solution to border security and immigration. We need to crack down on the criminal cartels who deal in drugs, weapons and human smuggling. We need to sanction employers who hire illegal immigrants. We need a tough, comprehensive solution at the national level.

This means requiring immigrants to pay back taxes and a fine, learn English and pass criminal background checks on the path to legalization.

Sinema is a constitutional attorney currently running for state Senate in Arizona.

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