President Obama took another shot at Arizona in last night's debate claiming that its immigration enforcement law opens the way to racial profiling. In fact, the law was carefully crafted to preclude law enforcement officials from inquiring about immigration status unless they are investigating other criminal offenses. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this provision of the law in Arizona v. United States.
When CNN's Candy Crowly asked the candidates to weigh in on immigration policy, President Obama took the opportunity to criticize Gov. Mitt Romney for opposing the "Dream Act," and for supporting the actions in Arizona. Here is how President Obama described the immigration enforcement statute:
Part of the Arizona law said that law enforcement officers could stop folks because they suspected maybe they looked like they might be undocumented workers and check their papers. You know what? If my daughter or yours looks to somebody like they're not a citizen, I don't want -- I don't want to empower somebody like that. So, we can fix this system in a comprehensive way.
That part about "comprehensive" typically shortchanges enforcement. Moreover, the new media continues to avoid any serious discussion of a separate Arizona law that explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of race, gender and ethnicity. That would be the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative (ACRI), which amended the state constitution to read as follows:
This state shall not grant preferential treatment to or discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.
Not a whole lot of room for profiling here.
Now contrast the Arizona approach with that of Team Obama, which has filled its legislation with race and gender quotas that cannot be enforced without profiling. The most blatant example here is Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank finance bill. But there are others.
The message here seems to be "racial profiling for me, but not for thee."
Regardless of where one stands on immigration policy, and there is a vigorous debate here within the framework of the conservative movement, there ought to be a widespread consensus that the President of the United States should be an advocate of Arizona to Mexico; not an advocate of Mexico to Arizona.
And, certainly not an advocate of the United Nations to Arizona.