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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adverse Reaction to Arizona Identification Law Fails to Jumpstart Congressional Immigration Reform

While Democratic lawmakers pointed to the recent passage of the Arizona identification law as an indicator that Congressional reform is necessary to reaffirm the preemptive role of the federal government in immigration law, Democrats lost the support of their sole Republican sponsor for immigration reform in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R,South Carolina).

Senator Graham predicted that the effort would not have a chance for success until 2012. Graham’s announcement was preceded by his statement that he would not support immigration reform unless climate legislation moved first. Citing Graham’s announcement as a major factor, the Washington Post reported on April 28th that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D Nevada)has backed off from his plans to schedule votes on comprehensive immigration reform legislation this session.

President Obama and key members of his cabinet have criticized the Arizona identification law as unfair, unrealistic, and possibly unconstitutional. While testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, DHS Secretary Napolitano said that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are both reviewing the law and whether states and municipalities have the "inherent authority" to enforce federal criminal and civil immigration laws as Arizona has done.

Attorney General Eric Holder has expressed concern that the law could be subject to abuse and create a wedge between "communities that law enforcement is supposed to serve and those of us in law enforcement," He also said that a number of options are under consideration including the possibility of a court challenge.