Immigrants—perennial scapegoats for fear-mongers on the American right—have been blamed for everything from overpopulation to unemployment and even for rising emission levels. Frighteningly, the finger-pointing seems to be working. In recent years, anti-immigration groups have won significant victories: In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security began building a fence along the US-Mexico border, and this April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed that state’s now-infamous SB 1070 bill, which requires local police to ask suspected undocumented immigrants about their status, into law. The question of how to handle this country’s immigration problem has never been more urgent.
In a special issue of The Nation examining the toxic nature of Arizona’s immigration debate and the implications for the country as a whole, Andrew Ross, Greg Grandin, Robin Templeton and Marc Cooper emphasize that if Obama wants to be president for the next six years instead of just the next two, he’s going to have to show that he is "committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform."
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