Posted by on July 05, 2012 in Blog

When the US Supreme Court struck down much of Arizona’s controversial immigration law last week (which essentially mandates racial profiling to curb illegal immigration), strong reactions weren’t restricted to border states, but came from all across the country. In Massachusetts, Republican Senator Scott Brown reiterated his support for securing the border and “turning off the magnets that encourage people to come into country illegally.” Because his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren supports providing basic benefits to undocumented immigrants living in the state, Brown accused her of wanting “to make illegal immigration more attractive.”

Warren, in her close and competitive race against Brown (definitely one to watch), has a different take on the matter. She said she supported providing benefits to undocumented immigrants for both moral and economic reasons. A spokesperson for Warren has said,

Scott Brown voted with South Carolina conservative Jim DeMint to prohibit the Department of Justice from even challenging the Arizona law - in effect, Scott Brown stood with the most controversial and radical immigration law in the nation. While Scott Brown stands in the way of sensible efforts to fix our immigration system, Elizabeth Warren will work for fair and comprehensive reform.

Boston Globe national security columnist Juliette Kayyem (herself an Arab American) suggested that immigration needed to be solved in the middle. She said that a new narrative was forming that “shuns both the extremes of the right, too cruel and unforgiving, and of the left, too kind and forgiving.” She goes on to say that “for too long, liberals and immigrant-rights activists have used a strategy of all or nothing to advance their cause,” suggesting that the DREAM Act wasn’t backed strongly enough because liberal forces feared it would make stronger reforms less likely.

Of course, anyone familiar with the American political system understands the need to find middle ground. The problem is that in this hyper-partisan environment, it is ever more difficult to find it.

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