In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday striking down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law, Republican candidate Mitt Romney criticized Democratic incumbent Barack Obama for failing to lead on immigration issues. Politico noted Romney has previously criticized the federal government for challenging Arizona's effort to regulate immigration in that state.
Romney said in part the Supreme Court's decision underscores the need for a president to "work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy… As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting."
Romney emphasized his support of state rights to make their own immigration decisions, Politico noted, saying, "I believe that each state has the duty -- and the right -- to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities."
Supreme Court's Ruling
According to the Houston Chronicle, the high court said, "The national government has significant power to regulate immigration" and neither Arizona nor other states may "pursue policies that undermine federal law."
Romney's support of state efforts to tackle illegal immigration appears at odds with this ruling.
Recent Federal Efforts to Stem Illegal Immigration
The latest comprehensive immigration reform bill by Democrats was introduced in Congress in June 2011. It stalled in the Judiciary Committee. The Republicans introduced the Legal Workforce Act of 2011, which would make the voluntary e-verify system for identifying worker's immigration status mandatory. That bill also stalled.
As described by National Multi Housing Council, the Republicans have been staking out an enforcement-only approach while Democrats are seeking integration of illegal immigrants already in the country. These opposing positions have led to gridlock.
Obama's Promise on Illegal Immigration
When running in 2008, Obama promised to make sure the federal government did a better job of securing national borders, U.S. News and World Report said. Obama also promised to provide the estimated 12 million immigrants already in the country illegally a clear path to legalized status.
Recently Obama authorized se lective enforcement of deportation laws to allow certain illegal immigrants brought to this country as children to go to school and work here.