Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law Blocked

Via the New York Times:

PHOENIX — A federal judge on Wednesday, weighing in on a clash between the federal government and a state over immigration policy, blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law from going into effect.

In a ruling on a law that has rocked politics coast to coast and thrown a spotlight on a border state’s fierce debate over immigration, Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court here said that some aspects of the law can go into effect as scheduled on Thursday.

But Judge Bolton took aim at the parts of the law that have generated the most controversy, issuing a preliminary injunction against sections that called for police officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times.

Judge Bolton put those sections on hold while she continued to hear the larger issues in the challenges to the law.

Chris Matthews on Hardball thinks it’s a disaster for the Obama administration because it lands the immigration issue right in their lap. Chris Matthews makes a lot of money to talk on TV, and I don’t, but I don’t see how enforcing the Constitution is a bad thing for anyone. Oh, wait; we’re talking about going up against the Republicans, who only give a rat’s ass about the Constitution when it’s in their favor or that of one of their special interest groups (see NRA). Be that as it may, the complaint against the Obama administration is that they don’t enforce the laws already on the books. Aside from the fact that the Obama administration has increased the deportation of immigration law violators over the Bush administration, every attempt by the Obama administration to fix the immigration laws has been blocked by the Republicans. Why? Because they know that it would hand another victory to the Democrats, so they know they can’t have that. They would rather demagogue immigration and all the issues — employer sanctions, separated families, the Neo-Nazis patrolling the border — that come with it and get face time on cable TV than actually do something. What a surprise.

The case will be in court for years, and I’m guessing that by the time the Supreme Court gets around to ruling on it, the plain fact that Constitution places the enforcement of immigration laws solely in the hands of the federal government should win the day. (Given the makeup of the court, I wouldn’t bet money on it, though.) The fact that the law is flawed and states feel compelled to take the issue and make a political football out of it is irrelevant. Based on that logic, states would have had reason to start printing their own money after Wall Street screwed up the economy in 2008. But currency policy — unless you’re a wingnut investing in gold via Glenn Beck — isn’t an emotional issue. In a country where, unless you’re a member of the First Nations, we are all immigrants, there’s where emotion — not to mention crass politics — trumps the law.