DOJ may challenge Arizona immigration law: what to do

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Earlier this month in an interview with TV reporter in Ecuador, Hillary Clinton stated that the Department of Justice will be challenging the new Arizona immigration law in court. I was a bit skeptical since she's not the DOJ and she might have been basing it on an assumption rather than knowledge.

However, CBS News now offers this (link):

Now a senior administration official tells CBS News that the federal government will indeed formally challenge the law when Justice Department lawyers are finished building the case. The official said Justice is still working on building the case.

Contacted about Clinton's comments today, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said they reflected her beliefs.

"The Secretary was asked about the Arizona law during a TV interview in Ecuador," he said. "She believes that a better approach is comprehensive immigration reform, and said so. Regarding how far along the legal review is, that is a matter for the Department of Justice."

Despite the senior administration official's comments, an official at the Justice Department told CBS News today that the question of whether to sue is still under consideration.

This would be a political mistake. The Arizona law has wide support, and suing would reduce Obama's popularity even more than it is now, not to mention what it would do to the popularity of Democrats in Congress.

On the other hand, the Obama administration has to know that a good part of their opposition is incompetent. In the worst case scenario, the loudest opposition to the suit would consist of those in the tea parties movement, and the DOJ would continue with the suit just as the Democrats were able to get healthcare reform.

The first thing to do is to recognize that most of the loudest voices on the conservative side of things are great at making a lot of noise, but aren't so great at actually coming up with and following through on plans. Undercut them or prop them up as necessary.

If you want to prevent a suit in the first place, apply the same techniques as are outlined on the page about how to reduce illegal immigration.

UPDATE: A quick example of that incompetence is offered by Jim Geraghty of National Review (link):

there’s little additional harm for the administration in making moves that enrage conservatives, because the conservatives are already enraged, and no matter how enraged they get, they can only vote once. (You’re thinking, “shame there’s no ACORN on our side,” huh?) The independents are probably a lost cause. The only way to mitigate a rough year is to energize the base, and so for all extents and purposes, policy decisions for the next four months will be driven by the need to motivate disappointed liberal voters.

His political hackery fails to take into account the fact that not all liberals - and certainly not all Democrats - support massive illegal immigration. And, he fails to promote efforts that would cause those on the fence to realize the massive downsides of the current situation. The only people who should support massive illegal immigration are ideologues and those who directly profit; Geraghty isn't trying to split that small group off from the rest.