Used to be that when the leaders of Congress said they would move on a certain bill (or not move on a certain bill), you could kinda sorta believe them. Now trying to figure out what’s really happening is like being a Kremlinologist back in the USSR’s heyday.
Reading between the lines, it appears that, with the defection of the lone Republican previously on board, Lindsay Graham, the Democrats have lost their already-shaky claim to bipartisan cover. This leaves them with the problem of placating their Hispanic supporters and trying to make Republicans look bad, which points to their adopting a strategy of pushing a bill they know is unlikely to pass, just so they can say they tried and the Republicans didn’t. This might be especially helpful to Harry Reid, who needs to appeal to Hispanic voters in his home state of Nevada.
The issue is complicated by the fact that Arizona forced Congress’s hand somewhat by passing its own attempt at handling the problems of illegal immigrants, and that the Arizona law is very popular nationwide. Despite this popularity (or perhaps because of it; who knows any more?) the Justice Department is contemplating challenging it, extending the Obama administration’s continuing war against the opinions and wishes of its own citizens:
Although it was the federal government which ignored Arizona’s repeated pleas to help patrol the border and thus caused the state to feel the need to pass the bill in the first place, Obama and Holder would dearly love to stop the state from implementing its solution. Such an action by the administration would be shocking and unprecedented—words that keep coming up in describing the actions of Obama et al:
“It’s relatively rare for the federal government to directly challenge a state law,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University Law School, who could not cite a comparable example. “It’s even more rare when there is no shortage of people challenging the law.” A coalition of civil rights groups announced Wednesday that it is preparing its own suit against Arizona, and officials in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff said they are considering suing the state…
“It would absolutely inflame people,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, an Arlington group that calls for tougher immigration enforcement.
“Arizona passed this law because the federal government abdicated its enforcement responsibilities on immigration,” said Jenks, a lawyer who says the new law is constitutional. “To now have the federal government come in and say ‘You can’t do that’ is going to outrage a whole lot of people.”
“A whole lot of people,” indeed. For example, there are reports that seven other states are considering legislation similar to that passed by Arizona. The majority of the people of the United States want this, and their own government wants to stand in their way. And remember, what the Arizona law does is to empower state officers to enforce federal laws already on the books, because the federal government refuses to do so—not to go beyond the law or to violate it.