All the members of Idaho's congressional delegation are not impressed with the United State Department of Justice's (DOJ) decision to sue the state of Arizona over a controversial anti-illegal immigration law set to go into effect on July 29. Idaho's two congressmen and two senators said that the federal government should be looking for comprehensive solutions for immigration woes, rather than battling states over enforcement.
The controversy stems from Arizona passing a law that allows officers in that state to ask persons stopped "through lawful means" for verification of their citizenship status. Proponents of the measure believe that the federal government is failing in properly enforcing immigration laws and that the state had to protect itself. Those opposed to the law say that it will lead to racial profiling of those of Hispanic descent. The DOJ is arguing in its suit that the federal government is constitutionally mandated to be the sole enforcer of immigration laws. (Click here to see the text of the lawsuit)
Idaho's freshman Democratic congressman, Rep. Walt Minnick, told IdahoReporter.com that the feds should work toward immigration reform. "The administration should spend energy and resources to solve the illegal immigration problem rather than to litigate against Arizona," Minnick said. "This is yet another reminder of the need for our country to tackle the issue in a serious, sensible, bipartisan way."
Republican Mike Simpson, who represents Idaho's 2nd District, was particularly searing in his criticism of the administration of President Barack Obama. Simpson echoed Minnick’s sentiment, saying that the feds should look for immigration solutions, and slammed the government for failing to do its job on immigration. “I wish that the federal government would spend more time coming up with real solutions to our nation's immigration problems rather than suing states that have been forced into impossible positions because of the federal government’s inaction,” said Simpson. “What the situation in Arizona shows us is that by failing to secure our borders and effectively address illegal immigration, the federal government has left states in a tough position. While we all know that a state-by-state approach to border security is not a solution it is the federal government's responsibility to secure the border, and they must show the American people that they are serious about doing so this should be a wake-up call forcing the government to start paying attention,” Simpson said, “I agree with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and question the decision of the federal government to sue Arizona while allowing cities across the country to flout federal law and declare themselves 'sanctuary cities' with no intent to obey the law of the land.”
Sen. Mike Crapo was in Boise Wednesday, discussing geothermal energy with Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. Following the discussion, Crapo toldIdahoReporter.com that he disagrees with the DOJ's decision to sue Arizona because the law passed by that state's Legislature doesn't even goes as far as federal immigration provisions.
Idaho's junior senator, Republican Jim Risch, concurred with Crapo. “This lawsuit is misguided. The DOJ should be enforcing immigration laws, not working to undermine them. The state of Arizona is simply trying to combat a problem where the federal government has failed. Securing a nation’s borders is any government’s top priority. If you cannot control your borders you do not have a country,” said Risch.