Clinton-appointed District Court Judge Susan Bolton blocked most of Arizona's immigration law this week, ruling that it would "impermissibly burden federal resources." In other words, enforcing federal law is a violation of federal law. The preliminary injunction, she said, would merely preserve the status quo and be less harmful to immigrants than allowing the law to be enforced in full. The next step for Arizona is an appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Bolton said that the Justice Department's suit was "likely to succeed on the merits."
Bolton blocked the primary provisions of the law -- including those requiring state law enforcement officials to check immigration status when other legitimate contact occurs, as well as the requirement that foreigners carry their papers at all times (federal law already requires this). On the other hand, 12 provisions, including some on human smuggling and transporting illegals, were left intact. All told, though, her ruling went even further than the DoJ had hoped.
The Department of Homeland Security is bound by federal law to "respond to an inquiry by a federal, state, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status ... for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information." Yet Bolton wrote, "An increase in the number of requests for determinations of immigration ... will divert resources from the federal government's other responsibilities and priorities." Or as National Review put it, "she accepts Justice's implicit argument that it's not the letter of the federal law that matters, but what parts of the law the executive decides to enforce."
National Review concludes:
The bottom line is that Arizona wants to enforce the law against illegal aliens. It wants them to be cognizant of the fact that the state is serious about the law, and therefore to conclude that it's best to leave or not come in the first place. Arizona did not deem these people illegal aliens. The federal government did, in laws passed by Congress and signed by the president of the United States. Arizona thinks those laws mean something. If the Justice Department's suit -- and Judge Bolton's line of argument -- prevails, then we'll know that they don't. The real law of the land will be our current, de facto amnesty, imposed by executive whim.
For the administration, the bottom line isn't the law, but getting voters from the Hispanic bloc. With the help of their Leftmedia minions, they are succeeding.
Meanwhile, America's immigration system remains broken and in desperate need of repair -- preferably by those who value and uphold the Rule of Law.