The Right Scoop picks up this unusually concrete statement from the Obama administration on their response to Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law. Up to now, the White House, including Barack Obama himself, has remained noncommittal about taking legal action against Arizona while continuing to criticize the bill publicly. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removes the ambiguity and declares that the Justice Department will sue over the bill in an interview with an Ecuador media outlet:
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
I would like to start with the immigration debate in the United States. The recently approved law in Arizona has presented sort of a difficult scenario for the President Obama Administration. According to some polling, half of the United States has approved this law and maybe other states would like to implement it. How’s Obama Administration dealing with this debate? Is the immigration law near reality?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, first, let me say how pleased I am that I have this chance to talk to you about these and other important issues. President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy. And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.
But the more important commitment that President Obama has made is to try to introduce and pass comprehensive immigration reform. That is what we need. Everyone knows it, and the President is committed to doing it.
This may not surprise most people, given the Obama administration’s rhetorical attacks on the bill. However, those have slacked off recently as the Gulf oil spill finally began to get more of their attention than a law-enforcement measure in Arizona. The Deepwater Horizon disaster may not be the only reason for the White House distance from the controversy, either. The same Washington Post/ABC poll with the distorted sample noted last week shows solid support for the Arizona law, the Post reports today:
Most Americans support the new, controversial Arizona law that gives police there the power to check the residency status of suspected illegal immigrants. But most also still back a program giving those here illegally the right to earn legal documentation, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The article doesn’t mention the topline result for this question, which is 58/41 in support for the law. Given that level of support in a sample skewed by an eight-point advantage for Democrats, a lawsuit against Arizona would likely be tremendously unpopular. In fact, those numbers resemble the ratings for repealing ObamaCare, another deeply unpopular program that Democrats will carry as baggage into the midterms.
Will the White House confirm Hillary’s remarks? I have a request into the White House on that score, and I’ll post whatever response I get.