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Apr. 24 2010 - 10:34 am | 1,557 views | 1 recommendation | 17 comments

Mike Huckabee Opposes Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Huckabee: New Law Will Open Arizona Up To A ‘Lawsuit Bonanza’

A few hours after President Obama called Arizona’s radical immigration bill an “irresponsible” and “misguided” measure that “threatens basic notions of fairness,” Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed SB-1070 into law. Brewer claimed that her decision was made with Arizona’s best interest in mind and stated earlier this week that she would “do what I believe is the right thing so that everyone is treated fairly.” On Fox News, as Brewer signed the bill, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) validated racial profiling concerns related to the implementation of the newly signed law and told host Neil Cavuto that it is going to open the state of Arizona up to a “plethora of lawsuits” that will prove “very, very costly”:

Here’s the dilemma: it’s going to open Arizona up to a plethora of lawsuits. You’ll have so many lawsuits that it will be very very costly to the state of Arizona. And here’s the real challenge. [...] This is a federal problem, the feds ought to be fixing this, they ought to be standing guard at the border, they ought to be enforcing the federal laws. When you have a state that is having to jump in and take on federal laws they don’t have the money resources for this, they don’t have the personnel for this, and the legal quandary they’re going to be in is going to be substantial. [...] It’s going to be one lawsuit bonanza.

Later in the interview, Huckabee added that “Hispanic Americans have the right to be unhappy about the fact that they might be pulled over.” “If I were being pulled over because I looked a certain way, I would be highly offended,” stated Huckabee. He also remarked that the “federal government has to do something to stop the hemorrhaging of illegal immigration over the border.”

via Think Progress » Huckabee: New Law Will Open Arizona Up To A ‘Lawsuit Bonanza’.


My colleague Andrea has a great post up over at Think Progress about former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) airing his concerns over the recently passedArizonan immigration law, which basically not only authorizes but requires law enforcement officials to check the legal status of just about anyone they determine could be a likely undocumented immigrant.

The bill is quite radical, and the ACLU has warned that it will likely “exacerbate racial profiling,” because police officers may check the identification of brown-skinned people before all others (how else do you identify an undocumented immigrant without knowing anything else about them)?

This is where Huckabee comes in. Huckabee told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that he is worried about the law in three areas. One, it will open up the state to lawsuits as civil libertarians and those concerned with racial profiling will turn to litigation. Two, it takes immigration enforcement outside of the hands of the federal government, who really is responsible for enforcing our laws on this issue. Lastly, it may lead to the unfair targeting of Hispanics, many of whom are in the country legally and properly, and may even be analogous to past and current racial profiling against African Americans.

I was watching the exchange as it happened, and Fox host Neil Cavuto seemed pretty torn. It was as if he wanted to attack Huckabee, but because he is a major player in the GOP establishment, he held back. That’s precisely what makes Huckabee’s objections so important. No one anywhere near as prominent in the Republican Party has spoken out against this bill. Even John McCain, former immigration moderate and “maverick,” has endorsed this radical new law.

I had many colleagues who were surprised by Huckabee’s reaction. But I wasn’t.

A long time ago, back during the Presidential primaries (it really feels like forever, doesn’t it?), I remember a liberal friend of mine asking me about the race, and I told them that out of all of the people on the GOP side, I thought Huckabee was the most decent.

My friend, an avid feminist, reacted with scorn to my suggestion, and we didn’t see politically eye to eye for a while. I can understand her reaction. On social issues, Huckabee is extremely socially conservative, maybe even radical. Yet there’s something different about the governor compared to a lot of his GOP colleagues, and I think that’s basic compassion.

I remember when Huckabee was attacked and called “Tax Hike Mike” because he raised taxes in his state. When attacked, Huckabee didn’t really disavow the charge. Instead, he defended his tiny tax hikes because they supported programs for children — like health care and school lunch programs for poor kids. He was proud to be a compassionate person and to support the people of his state.

I know it’s not a very impressive bar to set, but it seems that compassion is lacking in the modern GOP, and seeing that from Huckabee, in a way, gives me hope that there is some sort of compassion in the Republicans’ leadership, and I only hope, and I say this with all seriousness, to the chagrin of many of my progressive friends, that if there is to continue to be a Republican Party in our country’s politics, we see a lot more like Mike Huckabee, and a lot less of the Randian, everyone-for-themselves society stuff that is pushed by so many other folks in his party.


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  1. collapse expand

    Most illegals are Hispanic….anyone who doesn’t profile is a raving idiot

  2. collapse expand

    I completely agree with your observations about Huckabee. For a long time, I have also seen him as oddly and inexplicably different from the other Republicans (though I share almost none of his social views), but never chalked it down to the fact that he is indeed compassionate. Nice piece.

    • collapse expand

      He should be abundantly compassionate. He is a minister.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      I agree for the same reasons, but I’d add that Huckabee is an underrated politician. It’s not just compassion, it’s also carving a very promising role out for himself. I don’t live in the US but follow its politics closely, and being at a distance, I see the danger for the Democrats that they tack so far to the right with their Emanuelian strategy of appeasing the GOP and the Blue Dogs, that they will be overtaken on the left – at least on some issues – by a charismatic Republican like Huckabee.

      For example, if Huckabee were to promise to close Guantanamo and Bagram, prosecute torture, put an end to the Afghanistan war, and boot Goldman alumni from his administration, how many progressives would bother to vote for Obama who represents the opposite? Huckabee might also suffer somewhat lower turnout, but not much, considering his stances on social issues.

      The hurdle for this intelligent politician, who uses his folkliness to let his rivals underestimate him, is within his own party; but I can well imagine the powers behind the screen supporting him, as they did George W., for the same reason: he can win.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    As a recovering conservative, I appreciate you point about Rand-ism. Social engineering was proven to be a lot of false promise by experimentation in the sixties and seventies. Radian thinking is currently being proven to be toxic as societal and economic consequences are being rained down on the world. Turns out we would have been a lot better off not experimenting with Rand and Marx’s goofy ideas. Oh, and by the way, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to toss all that Von Mises zaniness in the circular file. Better to ponder the ideas of Jefferson, Monroe, Adams and the like.
    Maybe we are entering an era where being a political moderate will be xexy. I’m not holding my breath.

    • collapse expand

      I’m no founding-fathers scholar, but I know that Jefferson, in particular, would have hated our representative democracy (he regarded parties as treasonous, no?). And I’m reading about Adams, who makes Pat Robertson look like an atheist.

      I think we’d be just fine if my party (Democrats) actually walked the walk. We have answers–we’re just not trying them out.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    Hmmm. Would he be this candid in the middle of a campaign?

  5. collapse expand

    Mr. Jilani,

    It may well be that Mr. Huckabee has done the math and knows that it will increasingly difficult to get elected president without substantial support from Hispanic voters as the years go by. He may have determined that he does not want to yield the Hispanic vote to the Democrats. That said, this position guarantees he will never get the Republican nomination.

  6. collapse expand

    You write that “out of all of the people on the GOP side, I thought Huckabee was the most decent.” Me, too. He’s restored my faith in that regard.

    But so long as he’s so frankly religious, the fashionably anti-Christian will despise him. You know it, I know it. To pretend that Huckabee isn’t despised primary because he’s religious is as inane as pretending racism isn’t a (if not the) motivating factor behind the tea party stupidity.

  7. collapse expand

    Maybe it’s my browser, but can this site be tweaked so that the “All comments” option in fact displays all comments (as promised)? This place can be very user-semi-hostile. Not that I have anything better to do than click 10 times to see what everyone has to say.

    (My browser is Mozilla Firefox.)

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    About Me

    I'm a recent graduate of the University of Georgia who has found himself smack dab in the middle of Washington, D.C. working as a reporter-blogger for ThinkProgress. I'm here to do what so many young people set off to their nations' capitals to do: change the place for the better.

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