National Review Defends Arizona Law

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 07:00 PM

By Jim Meyers

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National Review is devoting much of an upcoming issue to the illegal immigration law recently implemented in Arizona, featuring a series of articles defending the controversial measure.

The law, passed out of frustration with the federal government’s inability to curtail illegal immigration in the state, makes it a crime under state law to be in Arizona illegally. It also enables law enforcement officials under certain circumstances to inquire about the status of a suspected illegal alien.

Kris W. Kobach, one of the principal drafters of the bill — Arizona S.B. 1070 — has written the cover story for National Review’s Arizona issue, dated June 7, insisting that the bill will withstand legal challenges in court.



In “Defending Arizona,” he observes:

“A law that basically makes a few small, carefully considered changes in police procedure, Arizona’s S.B. 1070, has inspired a vastly disproportionate response. Few laws have ever been so grossly mischaracterized by so many leaders on the left.

“From President Obama on down, they rushed to the microphone after it was enacted to hyperventilate about an impending police state in Arizona. Excitable bloggers invoked Jim Crow, apartheid, and the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany.

“Their charges are completely false.”

Kobach is a professor of law at the University of Missouri (Kansas City) and senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. He refutes charges by “racebaiting” members of Congress that the bill promotes racial profiling, pointing out that it “expressly prohibits racial profiling.”

He also notes, “most state and federal statues do not include such special protection in their text.”

As for criticism that the law will require aliens to carry documentation of their legal status, Kobach says that since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens not to keep certain registration documents on their person.

Kobach also dismisses claims that the law requires police to stop people in order to question them about their immigration status, citing the specific conditions that must apply for an officer to question a suspected illegal.

“In sum, the law does not make any radical changes,” says Kobach, who served at the Department of Justice as Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law and border security.

Those prepared to mount a legal challenge to the law “will find precious little on which to base a legal challenge,” he also states.

“S.B. 1070 was drafted in the full expectation that the ACLU would sue, as indeed it has. In anticipation of a challenge, S.B. 1070 was designed to withstand any argument that the ACLU lawyers can throw at it.”

A National Review article by Ramesh Ponnuru, “The Immigration Impasse,” examines how conservatives have been dealing with the immigration issue, and in particular, the possibility of amnesty for illegal aliens in the country.

In “Look Before You Leap,” John J. Miller looks at a law “similar in many ways to Arizona’s” that went into effect in July 2008 in Virginia’s Prince William County.

Since then, the numbers of illegal aliens in the county “are almost certainly down,” Miller writes, adding that “the enforcement policy probably played a part in downsizing the illegal-alien population.”

Crime in the county is down as well.

Miller concludes: “Amid the uncertainty, perhaps there’s a lesson here: Give Arizona a chance.”

And in “A Population Portrait,” Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, writes about the number of illegal aliens in the country, where they are from, their educational level, income, and other demographic data.

Legalization of illegal aliens, he observes, “would add to our citizenry millions of people, most of them poor and less-educated, whose prospects for advancement are decidedly low.”

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