At least this time we managed to get the news just ahead of Ecuador:

Obama administration sources tell ABC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to file a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for its immigration law, likely next week. …

Holder is expected to also claim in his suit that the Arizona law will be enforced in a way that could cause discrimination based on race and nationality.

Did Obama manage to pick up a phone this time and tell Governor Jan Brewer first?  Probably not.

The White House wants to make people believe that this is a slam dunk, but it’s not.  The Arizona legislature specifically wrote the law to survive a court challenge.  They even quickly amended it when an initial ambiguity about “lawful contact” gave critics a substantive hook to oppose the bill.  The DoJ itself will have to explain its own program to train local and state police on immigration law and enforcement through its Community Oriented Policing Services program.  The Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET) is a course offered over the Internet that covers exactly the kind of ground that SB1070 mandates:

Rather than spending valuable time and training funds on traditional classroom training, officers can now use Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET) for their immigration training. BIET consists of Web-based courses, allowing officers to take classes when and wherever is most convenient for them.

A rising immigrant population in the U.S. has led to a dramatic increase in local, state, and tribal law enforcement encounters with both legal and illegal immigrants during routine police duties. As immigration continues to affect interior communities, there is an increasing demand for law enforcement officers to have a working knowledge of immigration law and policy.

BIET is a highly interactive, self-paced multimedia training program that addresses the immigration knowledge requirements of local, state, and tribal law enforcement officers. BIET addresses a wide range of topics including:

  • False identification
  • Identifying valid identification documents
  • Consular notification
  • Diplomatic immunity
  • Nonimmigrant visas
  • Immigrant and nonimmigrant status
  • Law Enforcement Support Center resources

BIET was developed by Cameron University and Advanced Systems Technology, Inc. with funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office. The pilot program was available for free to the first 500 officers from law enforcement departments.

The argument that immigration-law enforcement is exclusive to federal agents will be impossible to square with this current program.  If local and state law enforcement aren’t supposed to enforce these laws, why is the DoJ training them to do so?  If demanding and identifying valid identification documents and determining “immigrant and nonimmigrant status” are areas of expertise that the DoJ shares with state and local police, why wouldn’t they be expected to act on them?  After all, isn’t the DoJ’s argument that the process of determining all of the above could be done in a discriminatory manner just as applicable to the very police officers the DoJ trains to do the same thing?

The Obama administration is about to fall on its face in court, and I suspect Arizona will make BIET one of its main exhibits.