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Immigration reform: Obama's political dilemma

President Obama wants comprehensive immigration reform, and he’s suing to block Arizona’s tough new law. But most Americans – including many Democratic officials – are against him.

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Meanwhile, Republicans officials around the country are organizing in support of Arizona against the Justice Department lawsuit.

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Last week, the attorneys general of eight states – all Republicans – filed an amicus brief in federal court supporting Arizona's tough new immigration law.

“It is appalling to see President Obama use taxpayer dollars to stop a state’s efforts to protect its own borders,” said Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in a statement. "My mother was a legal immigrant who faithfully carried her green card with her for years before gaining citizenship – it certainly is not too much to ask legal immigrants to do the same today."

As Obama (and others) decry a “patchwork” of state laws as reason to assert federal authority over immigration, most states appear to be going it alone at an accelerating pace.

States passing more immigration laws

Between 2006 and 2009, the number of state bills and new laws related to immigration more than doubled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“In the first quarter of this year, state legislators in 45 states had introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees,” NCSL reported in May.

Most Americans support stiffer laws against illegal immigration, polls show. Gallup reported this month that “Americans' initial reactions to the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona's new illegal immigration law are more negative than positive, by a 50 percent to 33 percent margin.”

“This means the Obama administration is sailing against the tide of public opinion in its efforts to block the law,” reports Gallup.

As the debate continues, so does the stream of immigrants entering the US illegally from Mexico.

The Center for Immigration recently posted its second hidden-camera video of illegal border crossings, some involving guns and drugs.

“The inescapable conclusion is that hidden cameras reveal a reality that illegal-alien activity is escalating,” the organization reported.

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border

Related:

Arizona immigration lawsuit: Obama sails into a political storm

Immigration law in Arizona targeted in Department of Justice lawsuit

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