Arizona governor Jan Brewer (R) signed a draconian immigration bill into law on Friday, which aims to “identify, prosecute and deport” undocumented immigrants. The law gives local police officers the power to detain anyone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally — a measure that many have concluded will “exacerbate racial profiling” and violate Americans’ civil rights.
However, this morning on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol celebrated the new law, saying none of those problems would occur:
KRISTOL: I doubt that it violates the Constitution, if it does, it’s a matter of federal preemption against state law. I don’t think it violates anyone’s civil rights. … I have actually read this bill it is not draconian. It is not going to lead to major civil rights violations. Will a few people get stopped perhaps because some policeman has reasonable suspicion that a person is illegal? Will he be stopped perhaps on the street and asked to provide his driver’s license? Yes. That is the huge horrible civil rights violation that’s going to occur 5 times or 8 times or 13 times in Arizona.
Juan Williams called out Kristol’s naiveté: “Bill Kristol said 8 to 13 times…someone’s going to stop some guy on the street. No. Let me tell you something, anybody now with a Hispanic accent, anybody with brown skin is going to get harassed.” Watch it:
In fact, while many conservatives like Kristol have offered support for the law, a number have also denounced it. “There’s no such thing” as “American-looking,” Mike Huckabee said. Charles Krauthammer noted that it “could lead to a lot of civil rights abuses” and Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano said that by signing the bill, Brewer is bankrupting the state because of “all the lawsuits that will happen — for all the people that are wrongfully stopped.”
[W]e turned to Karl Manheim of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and Erwin Chemerinsky of UC Irvine Law to pregame it for us. Their response: the law is DOA.
The Arizona law appears to be “facially unconstitutional,” Manheim said. “States have no power to pass immigration laws because it’s an attribute of foreign affairs. Just as states can’t have their own foreign policies or enter into treaties, they can’t have their own immigration laws either.”
Despite conservative opposition to the Arizona law, other Republicans aren’t taking much of a stand either way. When asked if he supported it on Fox News Sunday this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dodged, simply saying, “I haven’t studied it.” And on CNN today, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said, “If that’s what the people [of Arizona] want to do, certainly they have that right.” Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin didn’t say whether she supports the law, but praised Brewer for signing it. “So more power to Jan Brewer for deciding that she was taking on an issue” she said, adding that “it is a states’ rights issue.”