2010 began with promise for advocates of immigration reform, but it ended with a stark reminder of the obstacles they face.

After commanding the world’s attention in 2010 with its cavalier stance on immigration, the Arizona state legislature is threatening—once again—to dominate national immigration discourse and policy.

This week, Arizona state Senator and Senate President-Elect Russell Pearce (R) spoke candidly with CNN’s Jessica Yellin about his plans to introduce a birthright citizenship bill in Arizona this coming January—a move likely to be echoed in the impending Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

DESPITE THE lame-duck defeat of a modest immigration reform known as the Dream Act, both President Obama and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said they are not giving up on improving the nation’s immigration laws. We applaud their persistence and hope progress is possible – if not for something “comprehensive,” as was the goal in the past Congress, then for incremental change.

Rep. Lamar Smith’s pet cause is immigration enforcement. Now, as the chairman-elect of the House Judiciary Committee attempts to convince fellow Republicans to join his posse, he has also taken an interest in Latino voting patterns.

A new state senator said Tuesday that he plans to introduce legislation to give in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants who have attended state high schools.

The end of 2010 closes a lost decade in the fight for immigration reform in the United States with Congress failing to pass the DREAM Act that would have legalized undocumented students, though the battle will continue in 2011.

Lawlessness is to Arizona what horses are to Kentucky, a point of pride if not an outright industry. This was true when the place was a territory (see, e.g., Tombstone), it was true in the mid-1980s when the Arizona Outlaws played in the USFL, and it was true in 2010, when virtually every story of national consequence in the law has either originated in or been impacted by the legal strategies and priorities of elected officials in the Grand Canyon State.

For months, I’ve been writing about the merits of the DREAM Act legislation. And for months, I’ve written about young people for whom the DREAM Act would have brought relief: college students or graduates, and aspiring members of the U.S. military. Brought to this country by their parents, they grew up here but are in limbo because they’re illegally in the U.S.

After the disappointing rejection of the DREAM Act in the Senate, undocumented immigrants will be going through the eye of the needle this coming year, as legislation to test interpretations of the 14th amendment — granting citizenship to children of illegals emerges at the next session. Attempts to force employers to use E-Verify to check if their employees are in legal status will most likely follow suit as well.

POLITICO reports that Rep. Lamar Smith, incoming Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is looking to put a kindler, gentler face on his preferred immigration policy of mass deportation. Rather than insisting that the federal government round up and deport 11 million undocumented workers and their families, apparently Rep. Smith is going to ask these workers to deport themselves.