DEBRA J. SAUNDERS
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 2010, AND THEREAFTER
Obama Isn't Being Smart About Arizona
The latest CBS poll found that 59 percent of Americans view Arizona's SB1070, the immigration bill that allows Arizona to prosecute immigration violations, as "just right," while another 14 percent think the bill doesn't go far enough. So why does President Obama continue to hammer Arizona's law? And why did the State Department include a reference to the Arizona law in a report for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on America's human rights record?
I thought Obama was politically savvy. But he keeps gratuitously bashing a law supported by a majority of voters. Worse, the more Obamaland goes after Arizona's law, the more Americans like the Arizona law. A CBS/New York Times poll taken four months ago found that 60 percent of Americans supported the law or thought it didn't go far enough.
I asked Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports strict immigration laws, why Obama keeps pursuing this politically unpopular path. "Because they believe it," he answered. "They can't help themselves. They think this is the right thing to do."
Let me note that going against the political tide can be courageous -- except this latest Arizona gambit lacked conviction. On the one hand, the human-rights review mentioned the Arizona law. On the other hand, it used vague language that never claimed the law represented a human rights abuse.
To wit: "A recent Arizona law, SB1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."
Why bother dinging Arizona? It's not as if the administration won any points when it made a similar miscalculation in May, when a State Department official admitted bringing up the Arizona law as a human rights issue of "discrimination or potential discrimination" -- with China of all countries.
As Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer noted, this time the White House was dissing her state's law to a U.N. committee whose members include infamous human rights abusers Cuba and Libya.
The report rejects any suggestion that reporting on America's shortcomings in the human rights category equates this country's records with those of repressive regimes. So you see the conceit that only the left has the courage to take a hard look into America's soul.