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Immigration reform: Obama's political dilemma

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Western Democrats uneasy

Democratic governors – particularly those in the West – are very uneasy about the administration’s thrust on immigration, especially in light of the nation’s troubled economy.

“This is an issue that divides us politically, and I’m hopeful that their strategy doesn’t do that in a way that makes it more difficult for candidates to get elected,” Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. of Colorado (who’s not seeking reelection) told the New York Times.

“Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs,’ ” Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) of Tennessee told the Times. “And all of a sudden we have immigration going on.”

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

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.

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