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 Commentary July 15th, 2010     

The Editor

 

Guest Editorial from the National Review:

United States v. Arizona — How 'Bout United States v. Rhode Island?

Well whaddya know? It turns out that Rhode Island has long been carrying out the procedures at issue in the Arizona immigration statute: As a matter of routine, RI state police check immigration status at traffic stops whenever there is reasonable suspicion to do so, and they report all illegals to the feds for deportation.

Besides the usual profiling blather, critics have trotted out the now familiar saw that such procedures hamstring police because they make immigrants afraid to cooperate. But it turns out that it’s the Rhode Island police who insist on enforcing the law. As Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson details at Legal Insurrection, Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the state police commander, “refuses to hide from the issue,” explaining, “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.”

If, as President Obama and Attorney General Holder claim, there is a federal preemption issue, why hasn’t the administration sued Rhode Island already? After all, Rhode Island is actually enforcing these procedures, while the Arizona law hasn’t even gone into effect yet.

Could it be because — as we’ve discussed here before — the Supreme Court in Muehler v. Mean has already held that police do not need any reason (not probable cause, not reasonable suspicion) to ask a person about his immigration status?

Could it be that just this past February, in Estrada v. Rhode Island, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the Rhode Island procedures, reasoning that, in Muehler v. Mean, the Supreme Court “held that a police officer does not need independent reasonable suspicion to question an individual about her immigration status…”?

So, we have a Justice Department that drops a case it already won against New Black Panthers who are on tape intimidating voters in blatant violation of federal law, but that sues a sovereign state for enacting a statute in support of immigration enforcement practices that have already been upheld by two of the nation’s highest courts.

Perfect.


 

Comment from The Paper:

So what do you, our readers, think?

Has the Obama administration listened to the people? Does the administration have any real expectation of solving the immigration crisis without offering amnesty?? Without enforcing existing federal law?

Is the Justice Department misdirecting its assets, mainly time, money and talent, in prosecuting in the wrong directions? Should they, in fact, be focused on enforcing existing immigration law?

How long do you think we should wait before meaningful enforcement of immigration law should commence?? Or should have already begun?

In a private meeting with White House officials this weekend, Democratic governors voiced deep anxiety about the Obama administration’s suit against Arizona’s new immigration law, worrying that it could cost a vulnerable Democratic Party in the fall elections. During the National Governors Association, concern over immigration policy pervaded the closed-door session between Democratic governors and White House officials and simmered throughout the three-day event.

When is enough enough?

If even the Democrats are questioning the direction the White House is going . . . then what is needed to turn things around? How long can the Obama administration ignore the clear sentiment of the nation’s people?

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