The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 6, 2010
Lungren: Obama suit against Arizona immigration law 'dumb'

AA_LUNGREN6.JPG It's fair to say that Rep. Dan Lungren is no fan of President Barack Obama's approach on immigration.

Actually, that would be an understatement.

The Republican from Gold River (shown at left at a forum in Rancho Cordova last August) says he wants comprehensive reform that accelerates citizenship for those who entered the U.S. legally, that increases the number of visas for highly skilled workers and that strengthens border security.

But he says the president has "poisoned the well" by talking about a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants already in the country -- what many in the Republican Party consider amnesty.

Obama's first major speech on the subject last week was very disappointing, and makes it virtually impossible for any action this year, Lungren says.

And Obama's Justice Department filing suit today against the state of Arizona over its new law targeting illegal immigrants?

"I think it's wrong. I think it's dumb," Lungren told The Bee's editorial board this afternoon.

The Arizona law, which is to take effect July 29, requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they stop -- if they have a reasonable suspicion the person might be in the country illegally.

The federal lawsuit says the law usurps authority reserved for the federal government, will create a patchwork of immigration law and will divert federal resources. Critics also say the law will inevitably lead to racial profiling.

But Lungren -- who says that unlike many opponents he's actually read the law -- says there are enough protections written into it to prevent such abuses. While supporting Arizona's law, he said that a federal solution would be much better.

Obama's strategy won't lead to one, however, Lungren said. And he can't see how it will help Democrats in the November election, especially moderate and conservative "Blue Dogs" who have already stuck their necks out on health care reform.

"They're not taking my political advice," Lungren said.

Lungren refused to offer any advice to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, tiptoeing around whether he should step down over highly controversial remarks he made about the war in Afghanistan.

Some other big-name Republicans have called on Steele to resign after he said that Afghanistan was a mistaken "war of Obama's choosing."

There's bipartisan agreement that the war in Afghanistan, started under President George W. Bush, was in direct response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which were plotted by Osama bin Laden while under the protection of the Taliban in the lawless nation.

Lungren called the remarks "very disappointing" and said that Steele owed it to the troops to get his facts right.

But he said that since he's no longer on the Republican National Committee, he wouldn't voice his opinion on Steele's future. The controversial party chairman has refused to stand down so far.


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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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