A public interest organization that uncovers and prosecutes corruption in government said it has confirmed from Department of Justice documents that the federal agency under Barack Obama’s command worked hand-in-hand with the American Civil Liberties Union to attack Arizona over its tough new immigration law.
That law, SB 1070, now is being challenged before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It created applause from secure borders advocates and a furor among a wide range of immigrant rights advocacy organizations last year when state officials adopted plans to let state law enforcement officials crack down on illegal aliens who already are violating federal law.
Judicial Watch, the corruption-fighting Washington organization, earlier had submitted a filing in the court case on behalf of Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of the state’s SB 1070, asking the appeals court to reverse a preliminary injunction granted by a district court in July, just as the law was about to take effect.
That injunction has not yet been lifted.
The district court judge suspended four of SB 1070’s key provisions as the Obama administration called the plan racist even though it specifically prohibits racial profiling.
Now Judicial Watch has posted online a file of nearly 100 pages of documents it obtained from the government, revealing that the DOJ “worked hand-in-hand with the American Civil Liberties Union.”
The documents, obtained through the Federal Freedom of Information Act, revealed that there was an exchange of “touching base” e-mails between Lucas Guttentag, chief of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, and Edwin Kneedler, deputy solicitor general under the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.
From Guttentag to Kneedler was:
I left a voicemail earlier today about checking in once the district court rules. Would you be available then? [Redacted statement] And from all of us, thank you again for your argument on behalf of the United States. Lucas
Thanks Lucas. We should definitely check in once we hear. We’ll be huddling here as soon as we can. What is your thinking at this point on if/how you will proceed in various possible scenarios? It was good to see you, even if only briefly, and to be on the same side for once! [Redacted statement] I have a feeling we might be seeing each other again on this case. Ed
Following up was Guttentag:
Thanks Ed. Yes, a real pleasure to be on the same side. I think we will be strongly inclined to seek an immediate emergency injunction from the 9th Circuit…
Can you share your current thinking with regard to the various scenarios? Best Lucas
“It is one thing to share the ACLU’s disrespect for the rule of law but it is quite another to collude with the organization on a prosecutorial strategy against the state of Arizona,” said Tom Fitton, chief of Judicial Watch.
“Frankly, these new documents show it is hard to tell where the ACLU ends and the Justice Department begins. The Obama Justice Department is supposed to be an independent, nonpartisan law enforcement agency. Many Americans will be disturbed, though maybe not surprised, to find that Eric Holder’s Justice Department is colluding with one of the most leftist organizations in the nation.
“We know whose ‘side’ this Justice Department is on when it comes to the enforcement of our immigration laws,” Fitton said.
Also revealed in the cache of documents were e-mailed exchanges between ACLU staff members and Joshua Wilkenfeld, the assistant U.S. attorney who signed the government’s pleadings in the lawsuit against Arizona.
From Guttentag to Wilkenfeld was:
Josh …Yes, look forward to talking. I’m getting a fuller briefing on yesterday’s hearing later this morning (Calif. time) and then I am tied up for a short while. Would it work for you to talk at about 4.00 or 4.30p Eastern? If it’s okay with you, I’d like to include two colleagues. By the way, we tried to order a transcript yesterday but understand the US Attorney’s office already did. Can we get a copy directly from you when it’s available?
Judicial Watch reported it documented that Wilkenfeld sent the transcript later that day.
It was May 17, 2010 when the ACLU, and other groups including the National Immigration Law Center, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Day Laborer Organizing Network, filed a class action lawsuit against Arizona over its legislature’s attempt to protect its citizens and its jobs from illegal aliens.
“On July 6, 2010, the Obama DOJ filed a lawsuit of its own, which has been described by Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y., as a ‘cut and paste’ version of the ACLU lawsuit,” Judicial Watch reported.
WND previously reported when Judicial Watch asked that the provisions suspended by the judge be reinstated:
- Section 2(B) [reasonable attempt to determine a person’s immigration status] “imposes no ‘new’ burden on lawfully present aliens because Arizona law enforcement officials have the discretion to inquire about a person’s immigration status regardless of Section 2(B). Section 2(B) also does not place any undue burden on federal resources because Congress has mandated that the federal government respond to requests from state and local law enforcement officers about persons’ immigration status.”
- Section 3 [willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document] “does not regulate the conditions under which a lawfully present alien may remain in the country. Instead, Section 3 utilizes ordinary state police powers to create criminal penalties for the failure to comply with a federal registration scheme.”
- Invoking Arizona’s broad authority to regulate employment under its police powers, Section 5 [unlawful employment of illegal aliens] “seeks to strengthen Arizona’s economy by protecting the state’s fiscal interests and lawfully resident labor force from the harmful effects resulting from the employment of unlawfully present aliens.”
- Section 6 [warrantless arrest] “does not grant Arizona law enforcement officers the authority to determine whether an individual has committed a public offense that makes him removable. Section 6 only authorizes Arizona law enforcement officers to make a warrantless arrest of an individual who has already been determined to have committed a public offense that makes him removable.”
Fitton said Pearce “specifically crafted” the law “to be entirely consistent with federal law.”
He earlier said, “The district court jumped the gun by invalidating components of the law on a purely speculative basis. It is shameful that the Obama administration has chosen to mount a legal assault against the state of Arizona for simply trying to protect its citizens.”
It was U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton who struck the state law’s provisions, drawing applause from both the U.S. and Mexican governments.
The case is expected ultimately to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But national support continues to grow for the law, which is designed to make up for a lack of federal enforcement of immigration laws by giving more authority to state officials. Other states have begun copying it, too.
“This is a matter of America’s sovereignty and security, and every patriotic American must get involved,” said Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center.
The organization, a national, public-interest law firm in Michigan, filed a brief in support of Arizona’s law.
“If we can’t defend our borders from attack by illegal immigrants, in time we will lose our country,” Thompson said. “What confidence should we have in an attorney general who, without even reading the law, accused Arizona of racial profiling? Patriotic Americans must show they stand with Arizona in this matter.”