Immigration ups and downs

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a lethal blow to municipal ordinances that turned landlords into immigration agents. This is an excellent and reasonable decision that contrasts with the tortuous ups and downs that the immigration issue is experiencing in the House of Representatives.

The high court’s refusal to review the decisions of several federal appeals courts shuts down the initiative of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to promote ordinances that prevent undocumented immigrants from renting housing. These were approved in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers, Texas.

This is a defeat for that vision that the undocumented, despite having worked in this country for years and built their lives here, are foreigners whose lives should be made hell.

That is precisely the prevailing point of view in the House. House Speaker John Boehner can claim, as he recently did, that we are “a nation of immigrants” and that the priority is border security.

However, the bill that the House Judiciary Committee is analyzing today only speeds up deportations. The measure bans the use of federal funds for any legal and community aid efforts in the Department of Homeland Security for undocumented immigrants who are undergoing deportation proceedings.

The Supreme Court’s decision shows for a moment that there is no place in our society for persecuting immigrants. However, the House of Representatives disheartens us with its ruthless, punitive attitude toward these immigrants—and to think that this is where people have pinned their hopes for humane immigration reform.

The contrast between good and bad news is an emotional rollercoaster. These are the immigration ups and downs that one day recognize the human value in individuals and the next dehumanize these individuals in the worst way possible.