Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
Obama's immigration speech this morning at American University in Northwest D.C. was prompted by recognition that, with the outcry over Arizona's SB 1070, the politics of immigration are shifting. This was Obama's first major policy speech on the issue -- and while he reframed the debate as one not solely about border security, but also about the benefits of immigration and problems with our naturalization laws, he set no timetable for immigration reform.
Arizona has been in the news since the state passed its crazy immigration-enforcement bill, SB 1070, which criminalizes undocumented presence and gives police the power to stop people for looking "illegal." The Obama administration recently announced it would sue the state for usurping the federal government's constitutional power to regulate immigration, and it may not have to wait long for a decision. Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a strikingly similar law in -- you guessed it -- Ar
In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, handed down today, the Supreme ruled in favor of Hastings Law School, which refused to recognize an on-campus Christian group that barred gays – or, at least those who engaged in "unrepentant homosexual conduct" – from membership. The Christian Legal Society argued that the school’s nondiscrimination policy violated their First-Amendment right to free speech and association. But the Court ruled, 5 to 4, that because the school’s policy was "viewpoint neutral" it did not "transgress First Amendment limitations."
Despite the outcry over Arizona's immigration-enforcement bill and mounting pressure from Hispanic groups, the lead immigration-reform advocate in the House, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, admitted yesterday that any immigration bill that includes a citizenship provision for the undocumented doesn't have the votes to pass. "We are 102 strong, we are 102 commitment, but we are insufficient," he said at a press conference yesterday. That's of course a far cry from the requisite majority in the 435-member House.