Illegal Immigration Policies Have Gone Too Far

Are the current strict immigration enforcement policies going too far? Evidence would suggest that is the case.

While this might not come as any great surprise to some, others found it shocking. The man who put together Arizona’s highly inflammatory and controversial immigration law was voted out of office. This Arizona law was heavily debated, and other statutes of a similar nature are now in the courts. While this law was considered to be tough, the worst one was in Alabama and caused a big backlash that is expected to drive major changes.

These uproars over immigration reform legislation have many wondering if the heavy emphasis on decreasing illegal immigration has gone too far. It appears from the news, the rumors and the rumblings in the various states that many are not happy with the lack of federal government direction. Many think that things have run off the rails and gone overboard?

Let’s look at the latest media reports from Alabama, the state with the toughest immigration enforcement laws. Despite the fact that they stand behind their law, and think it was the right thing to do, they are now amending it due to serious criticism from business owners and residents. It appears that their laws had unintended consequences that went far beyond trying to deter illegal immigrants.

The story about what happened to a German executive would have had its moments of hilarity, but he did not find anything funny about what happened to him. He was in Alabama and driving a rental vehicle without proper identification. He only had a German ID and was on a trip to the U.S. to visit the Mercedes manufacturing plant located in the state. Prior to the new and supposedly improved law, he would only have received a ticket. Under the new law, he needed to produce a valid ID card or run the risk of being tossed in jail and thoroughly questioned about his immigration status. You can see how awkward that would be.

The awkwardness does not stop there though. The wording of the law is brutally convoluted and says that law enforcement needs proof of legal status for any transaction between a person and the state or a political subdivision of the state. Say what? So people could face criminal charges for just about anything. That is obviously something they will need to fix. The state acknowledges that they do need to fix it, which begs the question of how the law got passed in the first place with loopholes.

All eyes should be focused on the White House in the midst of this avoidable debacle. The states are passing their own laws because Washington is not properly enforcing the existing federal laws, not to mention the fact that these laws have not been replaced with anything better. So far, the prospect of these laws changing is pretty dim.

Above the din of clashing politicians is the lament of states that want some action. They are tired of running out of money and state resources being channeled to illegal immigrants. They want to serve their legal residents first. It is a good point. Just what will happen next is anyone’s guess.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit

Tagged with: , ,