Florida Senator Marco Rubio has weighed in on Arizona’s immigration legislation, saying that while Arizona’s frustration with undocumented immigration is understandable and while the immigration laws in that state are understandable, they should not be a model for other laws across the US. According to Rubio, the immigration situation in Arizona may be considered a “humanitarian crisis” because guns, drugs, and other dangerous items are also crossing the border, along with undocumented immigrants.
At the same time, however, Rubio made it clear that he does not want Florida to have the same style of immigration laws that Arizona has already been criticized for. Rubio also made it clear that he does not support the adoption of Arizona-style immigration laws in other states.
Rubio is currently considered a possibility for the GOP vice president candidacy, so many are listening to his comments about the issue. As well, the US Supreme Court will soon be examining the SB 1070 law in Arizona, legislation which makes it illegal to be in the US without documentation. The law has sparked a number of strict immigration laws in states, including laws which require police to check the immigration status of individuals who they believe may be undocumented immigrants. The Supreme Court case is creating even more interest around the immigration issue.
According to Rubio, immigration laws are part of the federal government’s responsibility and states should not be the ones to deal with the immigration issue or with creating and enforcing immigration policy. This is the same argument that the US Department of Justice is making against Arizona before the Supreme Court, arguing that Arizona is exceeding its authority with its tough immigration laws.
The issue is not just about laws, either. Some experts, including Rubio, have argued that tough immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama, and other states can also hurt the local economies, and especially hit industries such as agriculture, which traditionally rely heavily on immigrant workers.
Arizona and other states that have passed laws that take a tough stance against undocumented immigration, however, argue that the federal government is doing too little to stem undocumented immigration, so that they have no choice but to make the attempt on their own. In addition, the laws have supporters. Mitt Romney and GOP officials have expressed support for Arizona-style immigration laws and some legislators have also argued that Arizona has a constitutional right to pass such laws.