President Obama said earlier this spring that the political climate wasn’t right in this election year to work on immigration reform. But Arizona may have forced his hand when it passed a controversial law that authorizes police to apprehend people they suspect lack proper documents (see the story Church workers and the law for the law's implications for churches). Arizona has put immigration back on the front page.
Yet it remains to be seen if politicians will get serious about a comprehensive reform of immigration policy when it is so tempting to use the issue just to make political hay. (For a survey of options for comprehensive reform, see the article What kind of reform?) One poll shows that 60 percent of Americans agree with the tough measures taken in Arizona, and talk of sealing the border with Mexico remains a popular campaign theme.