On Monday the Supreme Court of the United States rendered its decision regarding the controversial immigration law from Arizona, SB1070, striking 3 out of its 4 main provisions. Interestingly, it seems that people on both sides have something to celebrate and something to repudiate.
The split is even evidenced by the ruling of a divided court. The majority of the court comprised of Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor agreed with the Obama administration that immigration enforcement is the purview of the federal government, thereby denying Arizona its complete crackdown on illegal immigrants, while at the same time agreeing with Arizona that the much-debated portion of the law can be implemented —police must check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally.
A lot of Latinos are disappointed in that portion of the ruling and somewhat dismayed that Justice Sotomayor went along. They fear the potential of race profiling is very high. The governor of Arizona claims otherwise and vows to ensure that this law is fairly and adequately implemented.
President Obama's statement regarding the court ruling reads in part "What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem."
What seems obvious to me, what this decision makes abundantly clear, is that President Obama is not just part of the problem. He is the problem. He failed to do what he promised Latinos four years ago he would do in his first 100 days in office. Consequently, he has no one to blame but himself if the states try desperately to deal with an issue that the court rightly said is the purview of the federal government.
Clearly he has not been the leader Latinos had hoped for. Instead, he contributes to the broken immigration system by adding to the patchwork of laws with his executive orders. An executive order hardly answers the entirety of the problem. And he knows full well that it is not a long-term solution, but it certainly gets the attention of Latinos and maybe a few more of their votes.
Instead of working on a real solution to find a real consensus, he continues to blame Republicans for his own failures. Hoping to get Latino support for his reelection, not too long ago he mentioned to a congregation of Latinos that he still had 5 years to deal with the immigration issue. The Latino community deserves better than that.
Otherwise, I am afraid the only thing they will continue to get is a patchwork of executive orders.
Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.