I had been "ambivalent" in my feelings toward Arizona's rather nasty sounding new law ("SB 1070") which ostensibly tried to criminalize being
Latino undocumented, considering both (1) that the federal government has utterly defaulted in the immigration area both by permitting the border to largely be out of control and to have a "wink wink" policy that purports to make it "illegal" to enter and work in the United States without legal authority to do so, with very real local consequences that has made a great number of people genuinely fearful and desirous of "doing something," and (2) that Arizona is a notorious cracker state, the law at issue was written by an unabashed racist, signed by a racist, and racists writ large are just delighted with it (and since White people fearful of "them" are the majority of Arizona's population, coupled with a robust voter suppression effort, Gov. Jan Brewer will likely be elected to a full term in November). Enter the Obama Administration, which sees political hay to be made in a desperate effort to shore up Democratic electoral prospects viz Latinos, and brought its vaunted law suit to set aside Arizona's law, which resulted in a federal judge enjoining the nastier bits of the law just hours before it was to take effect..
The reactions, of course, have fallen on the usual partisan lines, and really do demonstrate that this particular law is, was, and will always be mostly about sticking to Latinos, even if there actually is a point to it. But of course, it also allows a huge measure of cover to the feds (and now, that's the Obama Administration) who can defer actual immigration reform under a mountain of sound-bites associated with the Arizona law, rather than actually deal with the fact that while the actual (as measured before Bill Clinton) unemployment rate is in the astounding over 21% range, and an astounding 10-15% or more of our work force is not working with legal work authorization, both our immigration systems and Southern borders remain out of control. Worse, our sociopathic "war on drugs" has reduced much of Mexico to war zones or wastelands, driving still more people Northward for the comparative safety of... here. Best.. not... go... there...
Best keep this to the standard narrative, however, of "us vs. them;" for one thing, ":both sides" are more comfortable with that narrative than anything else. We'd hate to think for a moment that the fact that what Arizona is trying to do is largely something Rhode Island is already doing has anything to do with the fact that Rhode Island is one of the most Democratic leaning states in the country and Arizona one of the most Republican... no, no, no!
Well, the preliminary injunction out of Arizona's federal district court will keep things where they are for a while; "p.i.'s" are immediately appealable, in this case, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Who really knows where this will end up? The one thing I'm reasonably sure of is that we now have the political excuse that will be used to avoid coming to terms with the mess that is American immigration policy for at least the rest of President Obama's first term.