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Carmona: SB 1070 decision doesn't help secure border

Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th surgeon general of the United States and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling on SB 1070:

For decades, politicians in Washington have talked about this problem, but nothing ever gets done and Arizonans continue to shoulder the burden of a broken immigration system. SB 1070 is a product of the federal government's failure to act. Today's ruling does not help us secure the border, and it does not provide a solution for the 400,000 undocumented people living in Arizona.

As a deputy sheriff of a border county, I've witnessed first hand the human cost of not having a workable solution. I've seen the results of the violence and drugs, and I know the terrible toll that has taken on our community. But SB 1070 doesn't help local law enforcement fix the problem. It's a distraction that hinders our ability to build trust with the communities we serve.

Our immigration problems are complex, but the solutions are simple: secure the border, develop a pathway to earn legal status and enact the DREAM Act. Leadership on this issue takes courage, but it also requires politicians to stop using immigration as a wedge issue to score political points.

It wasn't long ago that two diametrically opposed leaders — President George W. Bush and the late Senator Ted Kennedy — came together to try to solve the problem. There was even a time when Senator John McCain and Congressman Jeff Flake favored a comprehensive approach that was practical and fair. It's going to take a more honest debate and the political will to get it done — and that's what's been missing in Washington.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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1 comment on this story

Jun 25, 2012, 8:25 am
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Dr. Carmona is incorrect on the following points…

-The immigration system is NOT broken, the will to enforce it is. Enforcement needs reform, not the laws or the system itself

-What he refers to as “undocumented” are correctly referred to as “illegal aliens”. And, it does provide them a solution…if they get pulled over for a traffic ticket, odds are they will be deported…which should have happened a while ago in most cases.

-We don’t need to develop a pathway to legal status, we already have one. Go back home, apply to come in, wait your turn, and then earn your way in like so many naturalized citizens had to before them.

-SB1070 is not a distraction that severs trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. It helps build trust. It shows law-abiding citizens that the law enforcement they pay taxes for will finally start taking their security seriously.

Dr. Carmona was correct on the following points:

- SB 1070 is a product of the federal government’s failure to act.

-Today’s ruling does not help us secure the border. But, it will help us clean up the mess that the insecure border has left us.

-The violence and drugs and the results of those have taken a terrible toll on our community.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

Carmona in a January file photo.