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Immigration law also a matter of states' rights, federal responsibility, sampling finds

April 25, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Arizona immigration law
Photos by Caleb Calhoun

Hagerstown resident David Beckner has mixed views of Arizona’s tough immigration law, neither supporting the law nor the federal government’s argument against it.

“I don’t think the states should have the power to just ask random people if they’re illegal,” he said. “It gives them more reason to segregate people out.”

However, Beckner said that each state should have the right to handle issues of immigration, even though he opposes Arizona’s law.

“It’s a localized issue,” he said. “It’s not like New York City has a big problem with people just hopping the border.”

Beckner, 29, was among area residents who gave their opinions Monday on the law passed in 2010 that requires police in Arizona to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and suspect of being in the country illegally. It allows them to arrest those who are unable to show “proof of legal presence,” according to published reports.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week for and against the law, as the federal government sued the state, citing provisions in the U.S. Constitution that it said require Arizona to follow the federal lead on immigration, the reports said.

Williamsport resident Tom Norton, 57, said that he blames the federal government for the immigration problem, and that it should not be suing the state of Arizona.

“That’s like one brother suing another brother, and I really think Arizona should be suing the federal government for not doing their job,” he said. “The impact of illegal immigration in Arizona is significant.”

However, Hagerstown resident Antonio Brown, 55, said that he thought the issue of illegal immigration should be the responsibility of the federal government instead of the states. Brown said he does not support the law because it is “profiling.”

“I think it’s unconstitutional because you are singling out one specific group, Latinos” he said. “The culprit in illegal immigration are the institutions that provide a livelihood for them to feel comfortable to stay.”

Waynesboro resident Becky Dingzon, 30, said that she understood the need for an immigration law but Arizona’s law goes too far.

“American citizens need to be protected, but people not breaking any laws shouldn’t be harassed,” she said. “Everyone’s entitled to privacy and civil rights.”

Dingzon said the states should not be responsible for handling the issue.

David Willard of Hagerstown, 29, said that he supported the immigration law and the states’ rights to deal with it.

“Every other place is tough on people who go into their countries, why not us?” he said. “I think states and the federal government should all have a say in this.”

Hagerstown resident Rickie Nave, 57, said he did not support the law, but believes states should be allowed to deal with the issue.

“If you get pulled over and arrested, and you haven’t done anything, that’s not fair,” he said. “It should be up to the states to decide who they want to let in.”

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