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.
It seems like the Obama administration got the wrong message when it came to the Arizona immigration bill. Instead of pushing back against the state's enforcement-only approach to dealing with illegal immigration, the administration has sent 1,200 National Guard troops to help "secure the border." Maybe this shouldn't be surprising given that progressives at major think tanks like the Center for American Progress have lately joined Republicans in calling for the border to be militarized, but looking at the numbers, you wonder how anyone could think we need more border enforcement.
One year ago today, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in the state – though the marriage licenses of 18,000 couples remained valid. Closing arguments for the federal challenge, Perry v. Schwarzeneggar, are slated for June 16.
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.