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Holder Says Feds Will Watch for Racial Profiling if Arizona Law Takes Effect

3 years ago
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Although Arizona's new immigration law raised concerns that it might result in racial profiling, Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday that the Justice Department lawsuit seeking to overturn it focused tightly on the federal government's prerogative to set immigration policy because that provided the strongest legal basis for the case.

Holder said on CBS' Face the Nation that if, Arizona's statute does go into effect, his department would keep its options open to see if racial profiling is occurring and to act on that basis if it was.

The Arizona measure would require police and other law enforcement officials, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status upon "reasonable suspicion" that they are in the state illegally. Justice has asked for an immediate injunction to prevent the law from going into effect as scheduled on July 29.

Eric HolderA U.S. District Judge in Phoenix is expected to rule on the injunction request within the next two weeks.

Holder said the suit was based primarily on the constitutional argument that enforcement of immigration laws was a federal responsibility because "we wanted to go out with what we thought (was) our strongest initial argument and to focus on what we thought is the most serious problem with the law as it now exists."

"It doesn't mean that if the (Arizona) law, for whatever reason, happened to go into effect that six months from now, a year from now, we might not look at the impact the law has had in whether or not to see to whether or not there has been that racial profiling impact," Holder said. "And if that was the case, we would have the tools and we would bring suit on that basis."

The Justice action has drawn criticism from Republicans. Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl said on Fox News Sunday: "For the federal government to challenge this law on the basis that it has preempted the area and therefore the state of Arizona needs to butt out I think is wrong."

Kyl said there has been improvement in border enforcement by the federal government "but it's not enough, because you still have about a half of a million illegal immigrants crossing the border every year...It would be one thing if the federal government had controlled the border already, but it hasn't."

"What Arizona is trying to do is to lend its law enforcement officials to the effort so that they can then, in some cases, apprehend illegal immigrants, turn them over to the federal government," Kyl said. "And then it's up to the federal government to decide whether they want to accept them, whether they want to detain them, whether they want to remove them to their country of origin or what to do with them."

National polls -- such as ones by Gallup and the Pew Research Center -- have found majorities in support of the Arizona law. A Gallup poll conducted July 7 said 50 percent of Americans oppose the Justice Department lawsuit, with 33 percent supporting it and 17 percent undecided.
Filed Under: Immigration

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317 Comments

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enrickue

Does anyone know what bank robbery, grand larceny, child molestation and illegal immigration have in common? Answer, they are all felonies.

July 12 2010 at 8:26 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
kev

WHATS AMAZING IS NOBODY IS ADDRESSING THE BIG AND SMALL BUSINESS'S WHO HIRE THE ILLEGALS??????? WHERE;S THE TALK ON THIS AND THE GOV'S CLAMP DOWN ON THOSE WHO HIRE THEM??????

July 12 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
shawn2254

Who is going to be watching Attorney General Holder for racial profiling

July 12 2010 at 3:31 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
crabbos

This is amazing. Who in the world does not believe cops on the beat do not do racial profiling? That is their job, a "strange" person in a neighborhood is always at least "looked at!" Cops are trained to see what is "unusual." When you consider all the problems we have even depositing checks into our personal accounts or making a credit card purchase, what is wrong with asking for identification from everyone? If a person is here illegally they should be immediately deported before they can become another democratic vote costing taxpayers.

July 12 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
english

what does "illegal" mean - he should be concentrating on that and not the Arizona legal, hardworking american citizens

July 12 2010 at 1:33 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
getgary01

Holder and Obama need to know that we are watching them!

July 12 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
rtyree

It seems that about 70 / 80% of americans support the arizona law. So, it thats the case, I wonder why there hasn't been more states to enact such a law. Is it because they are waiting to see how it works out in arizona, or are the governing bodies of most of the states leaning too far left to protect thier own citizens? I have asked my senator (La.)several times to introduce legislation, but to no avail. He won't be getting my vote in November. Whatever the case, keep speaking out, keep letting your representative know, over and over, where you stand. AND, by all means, go and vote in November!! It just may be the last chance for america.

July 12 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
consurvative

Seems to me that our Governments reluctance to profile ended with a tradgedy at FT Hood.

July 12 2010 at 12:21 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply
rtyree

The federal government is putting the american people in a position of having to protect the country and ourselves, by our own means. They are obviously NOT going to do it for us as is thier job. And, if they won't do it, WE WILL!

July 12 2010 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +19 rate up rate down Reply
rtyree

I think racial profiling SHOULD be practiced. If it turns out that the person stopped is legal, then fine, no harm done. If not, then an illegal alien is arrested, and hopefully deported. I have been stopped by police at check points looking for DUI, Insurance cards, Inspection stickers, etc. for no other reason than they want to catch violaters. What is the difference? I was legal and had no reason to be offended. Hopefully they got a few drunk drivers off the street and made it safer for the rest of us. I believe the same thing should be done for illegal immigration. Expecially in the high probability areas.

July 12 2010 at 12:14 PM Report abuse +19 rate up rate down Reply

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