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.
The May Day immigrant-rights rally at the Seattle Center. (Flickr/Brittney Bush)
Nogales, Arizona's largest city on the Mexican border, is situated about 70 miles south of Tucson, along a desert valley spotted with Spanish-era missions. Home to 20,000 people, 97 percent of whom are Hispanic, one would expect the city to be ground zero for impassioned demonstrations against SB 1070, the controversial immigration-enforcement law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer three weeks ago. But for the largely immigrant community here, the prevailing sentiment is one of resignation -- and fear for those relatives and friends who are here illegally.
Today, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumerreleased their extended plan for immigration reform. I still need to read over the document more carefully, but just a glance gives you an idea of what they have in mind: Their proposal is 26 pages long, and 17 of those pages detail ways of improving enforcement.
First, the good news. The last three pages include the Holy Grail of immigration-reform advocates: a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants. The proposal would also forbid individual states and municipalities from enacting their own rules on immigration -- say goodbye to Arizona's SB 1070.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Center for American Progress (CAP)
After Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a draconian new immigration bill last week, immigration reform vaulted to the top of the progressive priority list. On Saturday, immigrant-rights demonstrators in nearly a hundred cities will call on the president to pass reform legislation to override the Arizona law, which criminalizes undocumented immigrants' presence and requires officers to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
I'm finding Sen. Lindsey Graham's climate bill hissy fit over the weekend hard to understand. Days before the legislation was announced, the senator reportedly walked out of talks on the bill because Democrats -- including Sen. Harry Reid -- plan to prioritize immigration reform.
Graham said he thinks immigration is being rushed for political reasons:
In response to Arizona's crazy anti-immigrant bill, various leaders from civil-rights organizations -- including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of La Raza, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights -- called on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the legislation on a press call today. And as I argued in a previous post, they also said it highlights the need for national immigration reform.