I am a legal immigrant. My family and I emigrated from Russia to New York in 1993. We applied for permission to do so in 1990. Throughout those three years we went through numerous background checks and interviews and we waited patiently to be granted the right to move to America.
My status as a legal immigrant shapes my perspective on the illegal immigration issue in general, and Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 recently adopted by the state of Arizona in particular. When confronted by critics of this legislation, who have urged me to empathize with illegal immigrants, I draw the following comparison: when a person goes into a bank with a check and receives cash for it, that person follows the legal and proper procedure for obtaining money; however, when a person robs a bank with a gun, that person, too, has received cash, but by way of committing an illegal act. Both individuals leave the bank with money, however, one is a law abiding citizen while the other is a criminal.
As a legal immigrant, I neither empathize with nor support those who break the law in order to gain admission into the United States of America. The background checks and interviews that we experienced as a part of the legal immigration process proved to the American authorities that my family did not harbor a criminal past, communicable diseases or extreme views. Those who skirt the procedures are not only breaking the law by entering the country illegally, they are robbing the United States of the chance to vet them. These illegal aliens disrespect the American rule of law. They disrespect legal immigrants like me who stood in line to come here. And they disrespect all American citizens at large who are kept safe by the immigration rules and processes.
It is counterproductive to denounce the Arizona bill as the left has at every turn. It would be much more constructive to offer Arizona and its citizens an alternative -- something the federal government has failed to do. Arizona's illegal immigration problem manifests itself in overcrowded schools and hospitals, rampant violence and has left Phoenix with the second highest kidnapping rate in the world, right behind Mexico City.
Arizona has exercised its constitutional right to deal with the problem that has bankrupted the state. Polls show that 70 percent of Arizonans and a majority of Americans support the measure.
President Obama has led the charge against Arizona’s new immigration law. He is capitalizing on this divisive issue for political gain by wrongfully painting supporters of the bill as racist.
As president of the United States, it is Mr. Obama's job to protect its citizens. He should not frivolously interfere with states as they deal with the problems that they face, especially those, such as illegal immigration, that federal institutions do not deal with adequately. Speaking both as a legal immigrant and an American citizen, I urge President Obama to put away his political interests. If his opposition to the legislation is truly genuine, then he needs to step up offer real alternatives to SB 1070.
Boris Epshteyn is a political strategist, attorney and business consultant in New York City. He served as a communications aide on the McCain – Palin 2008 presidential campaign. He is a frequent guest on Foxnews.com's "The Strategy Room" and appears occasionally on other Fox News Channel programs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.