|Just Shut Up about Arizona, Mr. President|
By CFIF Staff
Thursday, May 20 2010
In the public ceremony welcoming the state visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, President Obama could have been diplomatic and graceful, without attacking Arizona for its new illegal immigration law. Instead, he chose to provoke and exacerbate, for political purpose, an already out-of-control political attack on the state for a law not yet in effect.
Anyone could have guessed what President Calderon was going to say; he called the law “discriminatory.” Mexico is in terrible shape, economically and societally, and it does nothing effective to curtail the outflow of able workers to the U.S., which not only eases its own crushing poverty strains but also results in a backflow of U.S. dollars to Mexico, a not insignificant part of its economy.
In his prepared remarks, President Obama said, “We also discussed the new law in Arizona, which is a misdirected effort – a misdirected expression of frustration over our broken immigration system, and which has raised concerns in both our countries....
“And I want everyone, American and Mexican, to know my administration is taking a very close look at the Arizona law. We’re examining any implications, especially for civil rights. Because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person – be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico – should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.”
He expanded that in answer to a question: “I think the Arizona law has the potential of being applied in a discriminatory fashion. Now, after it was initially passed, the Arizona legislature amended it and said that this should not be carried out in a discriminatory way. But I think a fair reading of the language of the statute indicates that it gives the possibility of individuals who are deemed suspicious of being illegal immigrants from being harassed or arrested. And the judgments that are going to be made in applying this law are troublesome....
“What I’ve directed my Justice Department to do is to look very carefully at the language of this law to see whether it comports both with our core values and existing legal standards, as well as the fact that the federal government is ultimately the one charged with immigration policy.”
The President’s last point is going to provide a fascinating exercise in legal legerdemain. Arizona’s law was written specifically to be a state restatement of federal law, and it also seems that the Obama Justice Department has never withdrawn an internal legal memo written during the Bush Administration that is said to provide authority for state authorities to make arrests for violations of federal immigration law.
For a supposedly serene, contemplative, professorial guy, President Obama seems to relish verbal confrontation, winning few points, except perhaps from his sycophantic base, for factually accurate exposition. Thus he understands the “frustrations” of Arizona, and most of the rest of the country, but to him, it’s over that disgraceful failure to achieve “comprehensive immigration reform,” not the far more prevalent and direct public sentiment to “secure the border.”
The almost two-thirds of the American people who are supportive of the Arizona law understand just as well as all its opponents who have not read it what it is about: attempting to solve a dangerous and dreadful problem that the federal government has been unwilling or unable to. So yes, Mr. President, we agree that the “federal government is ultimately the one charged with immigration policy,” the one that actually exists as law as opposed to the one you want.
As you were speaking yesterday, your Secretary of Homeland Security was busy dodging questions as to whether your administration would respond to the urgent request of Arizona’s two senators to send National Guard troops to the Arizona border. Wouldn’t doing that, now, at least temporarily, ease some “frustrations?”
Speculatively attacking implementation of the Arizona law from the White House (and Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security) is open incitement for charges to be brought against every Arizona police officer making an arrest under that law. That is an exercise in which no president should engage. The situation in Arizona and elsewhere along the border is dangerous enough already, without a President seeking to inflame it, or making the job of law enforcement even more difficult than it already is.
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