Katie Couric's Notebook: Arizona Immigration Law

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"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

If those words were written in Arizona today, they might include a footnote: just make sure they have their papers.

Arizona's tough new law, set to take effect next week, is really about enforcement -- whether state police can demand proof of someone's immigration status. The Justice Department will argue in court today that this power should remain in federal hands.

But the debate has grown far beyond that question - and both sides tend toward hyperbole.

CBS News reports tonight, for instance, that some of the law's supporters have exaggerated accounts of a crime wave along the border... Yet opponents who compare Arizona officials to Hitler aren't helping either.

People are fed up with the immigration system and want to see change. But real change will take accurate information, not heated rhetoric. We all need to meet halfway to have an honest and respectful debate.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.