By Gabriella Landeros
While the Supreme Court holds the fate of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, S.B. 1070, a panel of representatives joined at the the Congressional Immigration Solutions Conference to state their arguments regarding the immigration issue, which has stirred a heated debate for many.
Rev. Phil Reller from Los Angeles, Calif. said that, based on personal accounts, the Arizona immigration law and other similar laws have negatively impacted communities and the economy, specifically in cases where young children are separated from their parents.
“The current system is basically, it’s bad law,” said Norman Adams, President and Co-Founder of Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy, echoing Reller’s sentiment and expressing his belief that immigrant workers are an integral part of local economies.
Bill Montgomery, a local county attorney from Phoenix, Ariz. said that the only solution to the nation’s immigration problem is to implement a comprehensive immigration bill that reforms the nation’s current policies.
“Secure our sovereign borders, account for all those in our nation who have lawful authority, engage in necessary bureaucratic reform, and engage all levels of government for ongoing internal enforcement,” he said. “Our border must be operationally secured for several important reasons… There is an international security component to that. In the last five years we have had people detained at our borders, just detained from every single country that’s on our terror watch list [and] we also now have the problem with transnational criminal organizations.”
Montgomery suggested a “three year hiatus” solution that would tone down enforcement against individuals and employers, during which time undocumented immigrants would be able to come forward, declare where they’re working and what their skill set is.”
“If they committed a felony they are subject to deportation,” Montgomery said. “Employers also, they must pay the back taxes for those individuals. At the end of the three year time frame, if they pass the background check then they would be permitted to apply for permanent legal residency. But if they want to become a citizen they are going to have to go back to their country of origin to come back in the legal way.”