Obama's Arizona Immigration Law Summit: What to Expect

By Wood, Daniel B | The Christian Science Monitor, June 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Obama's Arizona Immigration Law Summit: What to Expect


Wood, Daniel B, The Christian Science Monitor


President Obama will meet with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Thursday to discuss the Arizona immigration law. But room for compromise appears to be minimal.

Arizona's push for immigration reform is getting its day at the White House.

When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 on April 24 - the state's tough new immigration law requiring police to ask for ID from anyone they suspect of being undocumented - she said the bill was necessary to "address a situation we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix - the crisis caused by illegal immigration on Arizona's porous border."

President Obama responded days later from the White House Rose Garden with highly-quoted remarks: "A failure to act at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others - that includes the recent efforts by Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans."

Now, the two are scheduled to meet Thursday in Washington, and observers from all sides will be sifting through accounts of the encounter to decipher any hints of movement by either side. Most say tangible action from the meeting is unlikely.

"It appears that the chief objective of the meeting is one that is symbolic in nature - to bring both sides of the issue together at the table," says Villanova assistant professor of political science Catherine Wilson. "It is highly unexpected that Governor Brewer and President Obama will change their point of view on the issue."

The President will be forced to walk the tightrope between two political needs, says Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College.

"On the one hand, he has to assure Hispanic supporters that he will fight discrimination and work to reform immigration law," he says. …

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