Last week’s filing of the anticipated federal lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration law--set to take effect July 29--all but guarantees the issue will continue to roil debate. Despite the controversy—and President Obama’s repeated denunciations of the law--21 states may follow Arizona’s lead, having discussed or introduced “copy-cat” legislation. Off the front pages, the heat continues to build on other fronts.
Dana Milbank looks into some of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's claims about immigration and finds that they have a fairly loose relationship to the truth. As in none at all: The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," she announced on local television. Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans?
The New York Times reported today that Democratic governors are worried the White House's decision to sue Arizona over its controversial new immigration law could threaten their already-vulnerable party in November's elections. "It is such a toxic subject," Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said of immigration, which is emerging as a key issue in this year's mid-terms. So what do the numbers show? Since Arizona passed its law in April, polls have consistently found that a majority of Americans support it.
Politico says immigration reform is a bad issue for both parties: [T]he polarizing issue is fraught with peril for both parties — so much so that, when asked about the politics of it all, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie paraphrases the words of Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: “When immigration is an issue, nobody wins.” Of course this is almost literally impossible.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s signature today enacting a controversial immigration law ripped the scab off a wound that never really healed after the failure of national reform in 2007. In those intervening years, states and localities have stepped into the breach, passing scads of measures on immigration. The Arizona law would seem the culmination of the trend. Among its most stringent and divisive tactics is the provision that would grant police the authority to stop anyone suspected of being present in the country illegally.
Back when Janet Napolitano was selected to be Obama's homeland security chief, I reported that her stepping down as governor in Arizona would deal a hefty blow to her state's Democratic Party, and its agenda, because Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer would take over the executive branch and ally with a GOP-dominated state legislature.