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22 Jul, 2010 21:00

Debate over immigration in America rages on

Arizona’s sweeping and controversial immigration law will go into effect unless a federal judge puts a stop to it. The US government is challenging the law, saying it encroaches on federal laws and enforcement.

Rev. Graylan Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC argued that the US needs to deal with those who are not advocating policy in humane way.

Conservative radio host Tony Katz however pointed out that the Arizona law is merely a law to enforce federal law and is not inhumane.

This is the federal government coming after the state for doing the job the federal government won’t do,” said Katz.

Katz advocates for completely sealing the border with a huge fence, followed by massive deportation of illegal immigrants, who he called “illegal invaders.”

The Arizona law allows for racial profiling, argued Hagler. He said it was a discriminatory policy that will create a two-tier citizenship system.

They are not citizens,” said Katz. “They are illegal invaders. They do not have the same rights and privileges of the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Hagler argued that, whether they are citizens or not, targeting them based on race is in fact the nature of racial profiling.

The reality is what the reality is,” said Hagler. “The reality is the law is racist.

Katz disagreed, simply saying the law was not racist.

Many have likened the plight of illegal immigrants in America to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. Katz rejected this comparison, saying there is no basis to compare the two.

They were loaded up to Auschwitz and then they were gassed to death in Auschwitz and they are not being gassed to death in Mexico. That is immoral; the idea that you would compare this to Nazi Germany. You cannot bring up Nazis. You cannot bring up Hitler. It is sickening. He killed 13 million people because he hated Jews. We are talking about illegal invaders,” said Katz.

Hagler said that immigration laws of this nature, including one in a community in the Washington, DC area, leads to economic decline. Katz, on the other hand, argued that illegal immigration is actually worse for the economy.

Illegal immigrants in Arizona are leaving in mass numbers and working with Mexico to get papers to go back to Mexico. Mexico has a more stringent immigration policy than the US, argued Katz.

There’s always been immigration in this country. And one of the things, when folks came from Europe you never had the kind of shrill language and debate that is currently taking place,” said Hagler.

Katz said that was a lie, as past immigrant groups, including the Irish and Italians also faced racism when they immigrated to America.

We aren’t talking about migration, these aren’t birds flying south for the winter,” said Katz. “Nations have borders and to cross that border without using the proper law channel is illegal.”

Hagler argued that the American people are a moral people based in the Hebraic tradition and should allow people to come to America.

We are a stronger country because we are welcoming and we find ways in which to integrate people into our culture,” said Hagler.

Can’t we do that and follow the law? Can’t we follow the law?” replied Katz.