Both progressives and conservatives have sharply criticized Arizona’s new strict immigration law that requires local police to attempt to determine the immigration status of anyone they encounter as part of a “lawful contact” and allows them to arrest undocumented immigrants. The ACLU warns that the law will “exacerbate racial profiling,” and former Republican Arkansas governor has similarly said that “Hispanic Americans have the right to be unhappy about the fact that they might be pulled over.” Even far-right former Colorado Republican congressman Tom Tancredo, who said he supports the Arizona law, has stated, “I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like [you] should be pulled over.”
In the U.S. House and Senate, however, Republicans have been far quieter. ThinkProgress rounded up at least five Republicans who have spoken out in favor of the law and three who have been non-committal. The only Republican to condemn it so far is Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Hispanic lawmaker from Florida who is retiring:
FOR THE LAWNON-COMMITTALAGAINST THE LAWRep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA): “They will look at the kind of dress you wear. There’s different type of attire. … There’s behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board. And this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else.”Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “And my own view is until the federal government does our part back here by providing the resources that are necessary, and that could include, by the way, the financial resources to support National Guard troops on the border, then you are going to see more of this. It won’t just be the state of Arizona that passes laws like this.”Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL): “I strongly disagree with the Arizona immigration law.”Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “[I]f that’s what the people of Arizona want to do, then certainly they have that right.”Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I haven’t had a chance to look at all the aspects, but I do understand why the Legislature would act.”Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): “I don’t see anything wrong with that [the Arizona law].” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I haven’t studied it.”Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): “I think that Arizona has a point, which is the federal government has not done a good enough job. … And if it’s a message to the administration they need to do a better job, then a state has to right to send that message.”Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “I commend Arizona for standing up for the Rule of Law and protecting American workers.”
Republicans may be unwilling to alienate their far-right allies who support this legislation, but they simultaneously risk driving away Latinos. Over the weekend, thousands of people showed up at the Arizona state capitol to protest the new law, and the Arizona Hispanic Republicans said they will not be supporting Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) re-election bid because she signed the discriminatory measure.
Are there any federal GOP lawmakers we missed? Let us know in the comments section.