Last week a Department of Justice led by Attorney General Eric Holder mounted an attack so lame in front of the Supreme Court against Arizona’s anti-immigrant, anti-HispanicLatino law known as S.B.1070 that even first-time observers realized how thoroughly DOJ had been routed. Obama’s lawyers cratered in a case of existential importance to HispanicLatinos, who should be thankful that Obama’s lawyers later this year will not handle the challenge before the same Court to the minority-friendly college admissions policies of the University of Texas – meaning those of all of the nation’s colleges and universities.
HispanicLatinos should not be happy about last week’s unmitigated disaster if the Court affirms any part of 1070 in June. Any HispanicLatino citizens who think they are exempt from its ramifications have a surprise waiting for them. As surprised might be President Obama in November.
Most legal experts presume that last week’s faux attempt at lawyering by DOJ will cause the Court to endorse at least part of the Arizona law that targets individuals based on color, race, ethnicity and sound of speech on the mere supposition that they might be in the country illegally. My fear – and I so hope I am wrong – is that local governments will rush to propose and enact ordinances against defenseless local immigrant and HispanicLatino populations. Imagine the likes of hundreds of “Americans” like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona running wild in every state.
Imagine cities and counties across the nation that have been chomping at the bit to let loose their police departments on anyone who looks HispanicLatino. The Court in June is set to unleash nothing less than a legalized form of ethnic cleansing. That was Arizona’s intention from the very beginning and if the Court supports 1070 in any form then local governments will take whatever aspect of the law to the maximum. Racists like Joe Arpaio already must be salivating like the racists of old when the Couert affirmed the nation’s Jim Crow laws. And it will not be as simple to overcome these local measures as the Jim Crow laws of the past that were swept away by federal civil rights legislation. Individual states now would have to pass laws to override them – a near impossibility in almost every state given the easy legislative obstacles that obtrusive lawmakers can put in the way. Arizona is here to stay if the Court does not get ahold of itself between now and the time it writes its decision.
So now what should HispanicLatinos do? It is certainly causing more of them to think harder about Obama. Were any third-party candidate viable, Obama probably would lose the election. Even so, he is more in danger now than he was last week. Any drop-off in HispanicLatino participation at the polls could prove fatal. HispanicLatinos not showing up in sufficient numbers – let alone voting against Obama – would cost him Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada and, poetically, Arizona.
Realizing the sudden danger they are in, Senate Democrats announced with great fanfare that they would immediately propose a law to overturn the impact of the Arizona law if the Court rules adversely. Sorry, guys, HispanicLatinos overall have not yet attained the educational levels of the rest of the country but they ain’t stupid. How, exactly, will Harry Reid’s farcical attempts at legislative window dressing fix up Joe Arpaio or Farmers Branch in Texas or Hazelton, Pennsylvania, or the whole state of Alabama or the rest of the 50 states?
Last week’s disaster, coupled with Marco Rubio’s attempts to enact some sort of Dream Act, opens the door for the Florida senator to a growing audience of HispanicLatinos now willing to listen to an anti-Obama message anchored by increased deportations and a limping economy. Rubio’s maneuvering on Dream might be as transparent as Harry Reid’s, for any Senate bill would not see the light of day in a House of Representatives dominated by xenophobic Republicans. Still, Rubio is angling to be used in a general election strategy. Curiously, though, his first baby steps on Dream might be his growing appreciation that the HispanicLatino community that extends beyond Miami after Arizona more than likely will become a more politically coherent and powerful force.
Certainly not as feeble as Obama’s attorneys.
Feel free to forward these blogs adapted from previous writings, with additional thoughts published invariably in between.