The US Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Arizona’s immigration law this week, with a ruling on its constitutionality expected this summer. Senate Democrats, who have not passed a federal budget in about 1,100 days now, are set to force a vote on that law for purely political reasons. They’re hoping to force Republicans into voting yay or nay and then use that vote as a cudgel in the fall elections.
The plan is to allow Democrats a route to express displeasure with the Arizona law if the court allows it to stand, and it would force Republicans to take a clear position on the law during the height of the presidential campaign. The immigration law is deeply unpopular with Latino voters, who could be key to the outcome of the presidential and Senate races in several Western states.
“If the court upholds the Arizona law, Congress can make it clear that what Arizona is doing goes beyond what the federal government and what Congress ever intended,” Schumer said in an interview.
He called the Arizona law an “assault on the domain of the federal government” that Congress will need to address if the court allows it to stand.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, is behind this staged vote. If it passes, it would remove much immigration law enforcement power from the states, resting it with a federal government that has already shirked its border security duty. It will not pass, but passing the law isn’t the point. The federal government has been willfully derelict on border security for years. Arizona became the kidnapping capital of the nation, as Mexico’s violent drug wars spilled over into the state. Arizona passed its law so that law enforcement might better protect the state’s citizens, which is the most fundamental duty of any state. The Obama administration has militated against that self-defense from the beginning, by suing Arizona and threatening other states considering passing similar laws.
Schumer’s gambit in the Senate this week is political provocation, nothing more and nothing less. It’s designed to create a wedge issue that will form the spine of Spanish-language Democrat ads and media appearances, to enrage Hispanic voters against Republicans. The Democrats will have a pliant Spanish-language media to assist them. Remember how Univision handled that recent interview with Obama regarding Trayvon Martin — the fact that George Zimmerman is Hispanic was never mentioned, so that Obama could play the race card before a Hispanic audience without offending them. Univision never challenged Obama on any of his assertions, never questioned anything he said at all.
The Democrats and Univision know something that is only dawning on most Republicans: While the potential Hispanic vote is large and can be decisive, Hispanics do not vote in numbers proportional to their population. But fear and rage are powerful motivators, and efforts like demagoging the Arizona immigration law stand a decent chance of stoking both and driving Hispanic voters to the polls out of a perception that voting Democrat would be an action of self-defense..