Commentary: Congress keeps passing the buck on immigration reform

Congress' secret strategy for dealing with immigration reform is brazen, deceptive and largely executed to success: posture about meaningful changes being a federal responsibility then let state legislatures and the courts get their hands scalded with the hot potato.

Maybe Congress is too fractured to have coordinated any such plan, but that's what years of willful inaction have produced.

Oh, sure, members have bandied about bills and pontificated about the woefully broken system. Some have related moving stories about desperate immigrants; others have decried those who break our laws to enter this land of opportunity.

But who's actually doing something?

The Arizona legislature, for one. Those state lawmakers have in many ways overreached. Some of the claims about the administration's supposed lax enforcement of existing laws are exaggerated or provably false. Still, states' frustrations can be understood when it's clear that Congress has failed to tackle problems in the system that can't be fixed without changing federal law.

Because states have started taking matters into their own hands, the courts now must get involved, too.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving an Arizona law under which businesses must verify potential employees' status through the federal electronic database and can lose their state licenses if they hire illegal workers.

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