Gabriel Dillard

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BLOG: Court ruling on Ariz. step in right direction

You still have to show your papers in Arizona, but at least it doesn't mean instant arrest if you cant.

That's the essence of the Supreme Court's ruling today on Arizona's controversial immigration law that the state's business community eventually realized was bad for business. 

Between travel industry boycotts and worker shortages in agriculture and other sectors, the law allowing the arrest of suspected illegal immigrants had a chilling effect on commerce. The same scenario is playing out with a similar law in Alabama and other states.

Even though state's like Arizona would love to eat California's breakfast when it comes to attracting new businesses, it's good to see this ruling go the way it did for a few reasons:

• It puts a laser focus on the federal government's continuing failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

• It sends a message to the states that potentially 50 separate immigration policies would be a national disaster.

• It acknowledges that state's like Arizona and California are absolutely dependent on illegal labor, and just locking up folks who are otherwise productive members of the community (with the occasional freeloading exception), is not the way out of the problem.

While I view these kind of state-level immigration laws as impractical and even a little cruel, at least they threw some fuel to a debate that has smoldered far too long. Anyone from the House, the Senate or the White House, for that matter, pandering to Hispanics for votes this campaign — on the right or left side of the aisle — should be ashamed it has come to this.