Virginia is now the most recent of nine states to unite in opposition to Attorney General Eric Holder's politically charged suit against Arizona's recently enacted immigration law. Don't be surprised if more states join the Arizona cause because Holder is now adding insult to injury by threatening a second suit against Arizona. This one would charge Arizona with racial profiling if the federal courts allow the state's statute to go into effect as scheduled on July 29.
The injury is the time and money Holder is wasting by suing a state for passing a statute that repeats, almost word for word, existing federal law -- on the flimsy grounds that it pre-empts federal authority to police the border, something the feds are doing only haphazardly now. The insult is Holder's implication that Arizona law enforcement officers will racially target Hispanics even though the law specifically prohibits them from doing so.
Arizona police must have reasonable cause to suspect a violation of a nonimmigration law such as a traffic violation before they can stop anybody. They must then base any "reasonable suspicion" they have that an individual is here illegally on criteria permissible under the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. The Arizona law contains a long list of documents -- including a valid Arizona driver's license, birth certificate or passport -- that provides the presumption of legal presence. Only those who fail to produce any of the approved documents would be subject to further scrutiny.
Holder's justification for filing his first federal suit on July 6 is that the 18-page Arizona law allegedly "crossed the constitutional line" by "interfer[ing] with the federal government's balanced administration of the immigration laws." But, as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli argued in his state's brief supporting Arizona, "federal law expressly allows states to arrest people who are not legally present in the United States."
While Holder was preparing his suit, his boss issued a presidential executive order that seems to support the philosophical underpinnings of the Arizona law the attorney general now claims is unconstitutional: "From our nation's founding, the American constitutional order has been a federal system, ensuring a strong role for both the national government and the states. The federal government's role in promoting the general welfare and guarding individual liberties is critical, but state law and national law often operate concurrently to provide independent safeguards for the public. Throughout our history, state and local governments have frequently protected health, safety, and the environment more aggressively than has the national government."
Holder should withdraw his suit before he further embarrasses himself.