One of the more fascinating aspects of the current debate over SB 1070-recently signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer-is the reluctance of its opponents to specify just what part of the law, precisely, they disagree with. I think the locus of this problem can be traced back to the fact that it’s not so much the specifics of any law they dissent from, but the idea of law enforcement at all. At least, with respect to the issue of immigration.
Therefore, for edification purposes I’ll post a link that contains the entirety of the recently enacted law:
The salient part of this bill, IMO, is the section that focuses on the responsibilities of employers, because that is something that has been lost during the course of this debate. SB 1070 is not about harassing aliens who might or might not reside here illegally. It’s about forcing employers to abide by laws that they were aware of when they incorporated their businesses, as well as demanding that homeowners not employ people they know beforehand to be here illegally.
Another important aspect that goes unmentioned in this discussion is the continuity between HB 1070 and federal law. Compare Arizona’s law to the relevant section of federal immigration law, 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act:
This is what makes Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawsuit against the state of Arizona so laughable. To claim that the doctrine of preemption invalidates the work of the Arizona legislature you would have to believe that this law either presumes to supersede or void the federal government’s responsibilities with regard to the enforcement of relevant immigration laws, when the truth is that it merely reinforces established federal law. Furthermore, we would also have to believe that SB 1070 is going to “impede” enforcement of immigration laws by a Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security that have both made it explicitly clear that these are the very laws they will not enforce under any circumstances.
The irony of an administration that steadfastly refuses to enforce immigration law bringing the hammer of justice down on a state that is trying to step into the breach is not lost on the people of Arizona, nor those of us living in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the people who need to be made aware of this schizophrenia on the part of the current administration do not seem to be paying attention at all.