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Eric Holder and the Rule of Law (or Lack Thereof)

Beleagured Attorney General Eric Holder

OK so I’m trying to get home before the storm starts up again and blows me away like Dorothy and Toto. But I can’t help but put the spotlight on Eric Holder. I just have one question: Did he go to law school? I mean, did he read all the required books and information about the rule of law. Because he seems to shoot from his emotional gut rather than from a legal foundation. Don’t believe me? Read this transcript from his interrogation while he was on Capitol Hill today about Arizona’s immigration law. It’s about as stellar as his comments on Miranda rights and litigation against terrorists like Osma bin Laden. I mean did this guy even go to law school? It’s one thing to be political it’s another thing to let politics so consume you that you can discern the truth of law.

I Always Condemn a Law Before I Read It

It’s apparent that Eric Holder doesn’t not really care about the rule of law. He probably thinks most of the laws in this country are unjust anyway so he doesn’t really care that they’re laws. There’s no other way for us to explain his reaction to Arizona’s new immigration law. According to the transcript, Eric and his office are thinking about filing a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s law. Which is fine, with one exception, HE HASN’T EVEN READ IT! Now I expect race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton to boycott and protest about things they are totally ignorant of but not the Attorney General. I would expect the Attorney General would have a modicum of aplomb, that even if he thought of Arizonians as backwards rednecks that he wouldn’t come out and say it without doing his homework. But then again I’m not surprised considering whose water he’s carrying.

What Exactly Does Arizona Law Say?

You can read the Arizona law for yourself, but here are the highlights:

1. Mandates that all Arizona agencies and officials enforce federal immigration law. This means no more turning a blind out to illegal aliens who work and live in Arizona. Makes all officials immigration law enforcers.

2. Allows law officials to ask for proof of citizenship if they have probable cause or suspect someone to be or a group to have illegal aliens. This is probably the most controversial part of the law, however it is current federal law. Any law enforcement officer can stop anyone in all U.S. states and ask for proof of their citizenship. The tricky part is what is the probable cause that will seek an officer to ask. Arizona amended their law to say you couldn’t use race or color as a factor but can you use language?

Immigrants crossing into the U.S.

3. Mandates that illegal aliens who commit crimes be turned over to immigration officials and gives Arizona officials the authority to transfer the illegal aliens to ICE something they couldn’t do before. Law enforcement is extremely territorial and it doesn’t surprise me this provision is in the law.

4. Allows authorities to arrest illegal aliens without a warrant IF they are committing an offense that could get them kicked out of the country (a felony). I thought that this was already law.

5. If you request a public benefit – public education, welfare, medicaid, free clinic, you must show proof of residency. Now you would think this was already law, I mean otherwise you could have people from all over the world educating their children, getting their health care and living off the dole for free. That said, I hope they don’t deny emergency care to folks. I mean I’ve been in a foreign country and to think if I ever got hurt or something I wouldn’t be able to see a doctor because I’m not a citizen isn’t very hospitable.

6. Allows Arizona to keep loads of information on illegal aliens and share that information with other agencies. Again this seems obvious but it ain’t. There’s plenty of information that authorities don’t share about criminals, as I said law enforcement is very territorial.

7. Does give people the right to sue if they feel the enforcement of the law has done them wrong but caps the damage they can do to local law enforcers.

8. The beefed up their trespassing laws allowing property owners to file complaints and imposing up to $500 in fines for an illegal alien who is on someone’s property that doesn’t want him there.

9.  Gives authorities more reign to stop vehicles that they suspect are trafficking in human beings. This beefs up their assault on human smugglers. Authorities just caught 10 guys who had smuggled 80,000 immigrants across the border. In addition it makes it illegal to transport, hide, or even invite illegal immigrants into Arizona. This is another attempt to stop human trafficking. And it says you can confiscate a vehicle used in transporting illegal aliens which could potentially impact soccer games and school bus transportation.

Immigrants Smuggled to the United States

10. Makes it illegal for a vehicle to stop in the middle of the street and solicit a worker. I’m assuming this is an attempt to shut down day labor places that people in the East Coast have built cozy warm stalls for. It also makes it illegal for an illegal immigrant to apply for work in Arizona, which I thought was illegal anyway. But I guess you’ve got to cover your basis when we have a country that allows the guy who’s up for Homeland Security Secretary – the guy in charge of securing our borders – to be the same guy who hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. (It was Bernard Kerkik in 2004).

11. It also goes after employers who employ illegal aliens and cracks down on them with fines and threats of arrests.

Immigration and the Rule of Law Are Not Mutually Exclusive

The law has other stuff but those are the major points. I’m no fool, I know that the rule of law and the way the law is implemented could be as different as oil and water. And many have pointed to Jim Crow,  the segregation laws of the old South as a barometer of how wrong the rule of law can go. But here’s one caveat – African-Americans are the legacy of involuntary citizens of this country. As Malcolm said, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” We were brought here in chains and now walk upright free to pursue all this good country had to offer. We earned our citizenship and everyone else should to. Just because you come here and work here and birth children here and send those children to school here doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to all this country has to offer. Anything worth having is worth working for. There’s a legal path to citizenship in this country and thousands of immigrants take this path, even those who turn out to be Pakistani terrorists. But that’s the price of living in a free country. We invite all comers but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things and good intentions don’t absolve you from being law-abiding and responsible.

I know I should feel more compassionate, I should ignore the law, ignore the drug war brewing on the border and spilling over into American cities and towns, I should ignore the overtaxing of our health care system, public schools and law enforcement. I know I should ignore all that for the good intentions but the reason that America is a nation of immigrants is because no matter what state you were when you came here, your children had it better now that you stayed. But for the first time American families are not seeing a brighter future. They are being overtaxed, overworked, over burdened in the quest to take care of the world and themselves. Somethings gotta’ give. The American dream is dissolving in a explosion of bank failures, job losses and economic despair. I’m no xenophobe but if America doesn’t take care of her own house we will no longer be a beacon for the world. We will be just like the world searching for a bright light of hope. Then where would the immigrants be then?



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