Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona, challenging the state’s immigration enforcement law (SB 1070). The DOJ lawsuit—which seeks to stop the law from going into effect on July 29th—argues that Arizona’s law is unconstitutional since it claims state authority over federal immigration policy. While political opposition in Arizona to DOJ’s legal challenge has come from both parties, some of the most laughable comments have come from Arizona’s Republican Senators who have used the lawsuit as yet another opportunity to claim that the Obama administration has failed to do anything on immigration. Only Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has been willing to engage the Democrats on immigration at all this year and even still, Sen. Graham back peddled after health care reform was passed. To date, ZERO Republicans are willing to step forward and play ball on an actual immigration reform bill—which makes the political finger-pointing from those unwilling to meet the President halfway all the more infuriating.
Shortly after the DOJ filed their lawsuit yesterday, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl were quick to issue the following statement decrying the federal government’s lack of action on immigration enforcement:
Moreover, the American people must wonder whether the Obama Administration is really committed to securing the border when it sues a state that is simply trying to protect its people by enforcing immigration law.
Attorney General Holder speaks of the ‘federal government’s responsibility’ to enforce immigration laws; but what are the people of Arizona left to do when the federal government fails in its responsibility?
The Obama Administration has not done everything it can do to protect the people of Arizona from the violence and crime illegal immigration brings to our state. Until it does, the federal government should not be suing Arizona on the grounds that immigration enforcement is solely a federal responsibility.
This, by the way, is coming from the same senators who led the Republican charge for comprehensive immigration reform back in 2006 and 2007. Back then, Sen. McCain said, and I quote, “I believe the only way to truly secure our border and protect our nation is through the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform.” But where is Sens. McCain or Kyl’s support for reform now, especially after President Obama opened the door to Republican support for a reform effort? And does questioning the government’s commitment to border security after the President requested $600 million in additional border security spending to fund 1,000 additional Border Patrol agents, 160 additional ICE agents, and improved infrastructure along the Southwest Border really make sense?
The point is that the “federal government’s responsibility”—a government which Sens. McCain and Kyl are certainly a part of—to reform our broken immigration system is being thwarted by the same senators who complain that the government isn’t doing enough. Sure, it’s an election cycle at a time when “get tough” politics are popular and nevermind the fact that SB1070 doesn’t actually do anything to fight crime, but the glaring hypocrisy is a bit much. Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer—who claims Arizona is now under attack from the President in addition to violent Mexican drug cartels—is fundraising for legal funds to defend SB 1070 and vows to “oppose the President’s amnesty plan” (which she also refers to as a “path to citizenship”). Apparently, as an Arizona politician, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Photo by Politico Mafioso.