Its amazing just how many people have deep, heart-felt convictions concerning the SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS ACT passed in Arizona recently. Imagine how strong their convictions might be if they actually read the bill. Count our president among those with plenty to say about unconstitutionality and racial profiling; civil rights and sensitivities without ever claiming to have read it himself.
The fact that the new anti-illegal immigration law is a virtual mirror image of existing federal law hasn't stopped President Obama, members of congress, various pundits and even Mexican President Felipe Calderón from criticizing Arizona. In his address to Congess yesterday, Calderon said, "I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona," which was met by an approxmately fifteen second long standing ovation from mostly Democratic lawmakers while most Republicans present remained seated. Joining in the adulation also were Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Vice President Joe Biden. (To his credit, the seemingly flummoxed Biden appeared to join the ovation with a great deal less enthusiasm and seemed to take his lead from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been seated to his left.
When the furvor died down, the Mexican President went on to say, "It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement." Unfortunately for President Calderon, (whom I suspect hasn't read the law either); the original act was amended by Arizona House Bill 2162, which specifically prohibits targeting suspected illegals based on race, sex or national origin.
In an interview with KPNX Channel 12 on Friday morning, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said, "There's hysteria out there, and people need to take a breath and see what our laws actually say, read them and understand them. Our law mirrors federal law. So, why is it bad for Arizona to mirror federal law? No one was crying out in the wilderness about the federal law being wrong or racial profiling. I don't get it. It's spin."
On Friday, April 30 Governor Brewer signed SB1070 into law to a chorus of boos from approximately 2,000 protesters at a state auditorium near the Capitol complex; Saying afterwards, "We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act, but decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation." Slated to go into effect in late July or early August, Governor Brewer ordered Arizona's law enforcement licensing agency to develop a training course on how to implement it without violating civil rights.
What the new law effectively does is make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. Right. That is a dispatch directly from the Department of Redundancy Department. Why does Arizona need a state law that makes an illegal act illegal? Because the Federal Government refuses to enforce Federal law and has thus far refused to seriously entertain the idea of comprehensive immigration law reform. President Bush tried in 2007 and Congressional Republicans were less than enthusiastic; offering little support.
The amended act also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants; allows lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws; and makes it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.
The backlash against Arizona was immediate: The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Legal Defense Fund indicated through it's president William Sanchez that the group will file a lawsuit against Arizona to prevent implementation of the law.
Also on Friday President Obama called the Arizona bill "misguided" and instructed the Justice Department to examine it to see if it's legal. He also said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level -- or leave the door open to "irresponsibility by others."
In another of a series of pre-emptory apologies issued to the international community by the Obama administration, State Department Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner said in a press briefing on Friday that Arizona's stand was an example of a “troubling trend” in the United States and an indication of “discrimination or potential discrimination” in American society. Posner seemed to be using the 'See, we're not perfect either' icebreaker with the Chinese in a series of human rights talks held at various locations in Washington last week.
Even more outrageous are statements from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief John Morton intimating that ICE will not "not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials." During a visit to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Morton said that Arizona's new law is not "good government," Morton went on to say, "I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution."
Interestingly enough, Arizona's new SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS ACT contains language reserving to the state the right to file lawsuits against those hindering enforcement of the law.
And then there is... PLANET CALIFORNIA
Lame duck Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joked during his keynote commencement speech at Emory University in Atlanta that, "I was also to go and give a commencement speech in Arizona, but with my accent I was worried they were going to deport me back to Austria."
The Goveror could easily be the poster child for legal immigration, having gone as far politically as a foreign national can go under the Constitution. There were even some ripples of support for a Constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born citizens of the United States to serve as president. Although the idea never gained much traction, it would have cleared the way for Schwarzenegger to make a presidential run. Not bad for a guy worried about being deported.
tee shirts, che, mao, pot leaf
NO OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR
OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY ADOPT A POLICY THAT LIMITS OR
RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL
EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL LAW.
See a pdf copy of the bill here: