Richardson: "Temporary Victory" on Arizona Law

A federal judge's decision to block key provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law has renewed the debate about overhauling the nation's immigration policies.

Speaking to CBS' "The Early Show" Thursday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) called the ruling "a temporary victory" and renewed his longstanding calls for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they meet various requirements.

"It's a correct decision because what the judge said was that Arizona law was interfering into federal responsibility," Richardson said, adding that the law could lead to racial profiling and damage American interests abroad. "What I see is a protracted fight that will go all the way to the Supreme Court."

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith that the real problem is the federal government's failure to enforce existing immigration laws.

"In many ways this is like prohibition. We had this law - no alcohol - and yet crime of all sorts was breaking out over the failure to enforce this," Issa said. "Now, unlike prohibition, we can enforce the border. We can enforce our work site responsibility."

Smith noted that the President Barack Obama has sent thousands more National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, but Issa maintained that, "Right now there's been no will by president after president to properly enforce the border or to enter in comprehensive immigration reform without this artificial, 'You've got to forgive all those who came here illegally and make them citizen-eligible.'"

More on the Arizona immigration law:

Judge Hands Victory to AZ Immigration Law Foes
Read Judge Bolton's Decision
Arizona Immigration Decision: Early Reaction
Ruling Accepts Administration's Main Arguments
Tension Builds As Arizona Immigration Law Looms
Arizona Helped Deport 26,000 without New Law
Ariz. Gov. Seeks Dismissal of Immigration Suit
Neo-Nazi Group Patrolling U.S. Border
Is Political Rhetoric Hurting Ariz. Tourism?

Richardson said that "what the president and others have proposed is not amnesty. Actually, it's accountability for the 11 million that are here." He noted that illegal immigrants would have to learn English, pass a background check, and "get to the back of the line behind those that are trying to get here legally" under any likely immigration reform bill.

"I put the blame on the Congress," Richardson said. "They have not dealt with comprehensive immigration reform."

Issa said that "the back of the line is 5.5 billion people that would like to come to America. So, it's very clear, if you go to the back of the line you'll never get to the front of the line."


  • CBSNews

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