Rasmussen has data on what voters think about the federal government’s suit against Arizona, which seeks to invalidate that state’s new immigration enforcement law. By a 2 to 1 ratio (56 percent to 28 percent), those surveyed oppose that suit. Moreover, 61 percent would like to see a law such as Arizona’s enacted in their state. That’s up 6 points from two months ago.
Some have said that the lawsuit is smart politics by the Obama administration, even in the short-term, because those who care most about the issue (i.e., Hispanics) will receive extra motivation to support Democratic candidates this fall. However, Rasmussen found that among the 55 percent who say immigration is a very important issue, opposition to the Justice Department’s suit is particularly strong. 72 percent of this group disagrees with the suit.
It’s unlikely, then, that the Obama crowd sees the suit as a good short-term politics. In fact, Rasmussen’s latest numbers are in line with data from when reports of such a possible suit first surfaced. Thus, the unpopularity of the suit didn’t sneak up on anyone.
My sense is that the decision to sue is, above all, an ideological one. Certainly, the point man on the suit, DOJ Civil Rights Division head Tom Perez, is a long-time advocate on behalf of illegal immigrants
This is an administration that won’t back down on its core beliefs. One of its core beliefs is that illegal immigrants should not be bothered by the police. Another is that millions of illegal immigrants should receive amnesty (a belief that is, of course, supported by long-term poltical interests). Vindicating the latter objective requires that the federal government determine just how much immigration enforcement (or more precisely, how little) will occur in the absence of “comprehensive reform,” i.e., amnesty.
Public opinion and short-term political considerations no more influence the administration’s behavior on immigration than they did on health care.
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