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Holder To Arizona: Big Brother Is Watching

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said Sunday the Justice Department will file a second law suit against Arizona if they find evidence of racial profiling in the multi-litigated state law aimed at prosecuting illegal immigrants.

Interviewed on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Holder said Justice will monitor the law as it is applied and sometime in the next six months to a year decide whether civil rights violations have become evident.

The state law goes into effect July 29 barring an injunction pending before a district court judge sought by the federal government when it filed suit challenging its constitutionality June 29.

So far and counting, seven suits challenging the law have been filed, one by the feds and six by special interest advocacy groups or individuals.

Since I have been scolded for misrepresenting the law’s specifics, I will defer right or wrong to this assessment:

Arizona’s law, S.B. 1070, authorizes police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being an illegal alien based on a “reasonable suspicion.” Suspected illegal aliens can be questioned even if police find them at the site of other crimes they are investigating.

Employers who hire or knowingly transport illegal aliens could be fined or jailed under the law.

Anyone found to be an illegal alien could face more extensive jail time.

The Obama administration’s lawsuit filed in federal  says the state has overstepped its authority by trying to regulate an immigration policy that only the federal government can control.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton must decide before the law takes effect July 29 whether to grant the government’s request for a preliminary injunction. She also must decide the fate of seven private lawsuits that have been filed to oppose the law since Gov. Jan Brewer signed it on April 23.

Holder said in the CBS interview the initial federal suit didn’t deal with concerns about racial profiling so that it could focus on the most serious problem with the law.

Here’s the best arguments I could find after sorting out the self-serving political posturing.

The Justice Department:

(Its) policy is to focus on dangerous immigrants: gang members, drug traffickers, threats to national security. Otherwise law-abiding immigrants without documentation would largely be left alone.

Homeland Security officials say the government cannot possibly find, arrest and deport everyone who is here illegally. And trying to do so would also upset a balance crafted by Congress that takes into account humanitarian interests and foreign relations.

Gov. Brewer:

(Her) state should not be punished for acting in the absence of federal enforcement of immigration laws.

“As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels,” she said. “Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice… These funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona.”

Now, let’s take a look at two of the other suits filed against the Arizona law.

One is filed by the National Coalition of Latino and Christian Leaders.  It asks for clarification of 10th Amendment rights. It says the law “creates statewide immigration regulations independent from existing federal systems.” It also leads to “national origin,” “racial” designation and “alienage” discrimination, all violations of federal housing and civil rights laws.

Another suit was filed on behalf of Phoenix patrol officer Martin Escobar.   He  said the new law places him “between a rock and a hard place.” He cited 15 examples of state and city laws he is sworn to enforce that “do not provide any race neutral criteria or basis to suspect or identify who is lawfully in the United States.”

The state’s police chiefs and sheriff’s seem evenly spit on the merits or lack of them in the new law.

Let’s not overlook activist Hispanic entertainers who have leaped into the breach.

Colombian singer Shakira after meeting with Phoenix police chief and mayor  expressed her concerns over the new law. “It goes against all human dignity,” Shakira said.

Addressing a press conference, Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson native said, “Mexican-Americans are not going to take this lying down.”

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin has also denounced the law, saying it “makes no sense.”

Some tourist analysts say boycotts against the state have cost more than several million dollars in lost revenue.

A liberal Center for American Progress released a report in March, tying in nicely with the Obama administration position that deporting the entire illegal immigration population and securing the borders would cost $285 billion over five years.

Steven Camarota, research director at the center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors stricter enforcement of immigration laws, says:

The furor over the Arizona law is overblown…  It does not envision mass deportations or roundups, just a slow but steady pressure on illegal immigrants to leave Arizona — either for their home countries or for another state.

The number of illegal immigrants in the country fell for the first time this decade in 2007, and dropped another 800,000 between 2008 and 2009, primarily due to the recession and increased enforcement efforts.

As of January 2009, an estimated 10.8 million people were in the country illegally, 1 million less than the 2007 peak, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Deportations have been increasing, climbing from 185,944 in 2007 to 387,790 last year.

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EPILOGUE

1) The U.S. border can never be enforced to the satisfaction of some residents and most governors of states from California to Texas. 2) Law enforcement agencies from police to sheriffs to state and federal officers must establish priorities and the numbers cited above speak for themselves. 3) Enforcement of SB 1070 places a burden on local police and sheriff deputies when to ask a person stopped for an infraction or crime for his citizenship papers. No  person would be asked if he failed to meet a certain profile, racial or otherwise. Legal residents matching a Hispanic profile might be asked but how many carry as a matter of routine their birth certificates, passports or visas.  At best, a driver’s license and Social Security card. 4) I sympathize with the Arizona  plight but SB 1070 doesn’t solve the problem. It creates another. And divides our nation, not for security reasons, but for political purposes.

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