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The attorney general admits he hasn’t read or been briefed by his staff on the Arizona immigration law he has criticized.

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Eric Holder: A Liar or Incompetent?

The attorney general admits he hasn’t read or been briefed by his staff on the Arizona immigration law he has criticized.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s recent comment about Arizona’s illegal immigration law demonstrates that he is either blatantly disingenuous, or that the most powerful attorney in the country is incompetent.

Holder admitted under questioning last Thursday that he has not read the Arizona statute, nor been briefed on the 16-page document by his staff. Nevertheless, our nation’s top law enforcement official has repeatedly said that the law is unconstitutional, misguided, and will be challenged. It turns out his expert legal opinion is nothing more than hysterical, and mostly erroneous, hyperbole—the kind that flies in the face of the vast majority of this nation’s citizens who support Arizona’s refusal to abide continued federal inaction.

When a lawyer with the power and authority of the attorney general’s office offers public legal opinions based on “what I’ve heard about the law,” I suspect that he is looking at a loser case, one he does not want to argue in court.

America, the attorney general’s “client,” deserves better legal advice than we got on this one. In less than ten minutes, Arizona’s law can found on the Internet, read, and most importantly, understood. It challenges credibility that Holder, or someone from his staff, has not read the law. President Obama should demand a public apology to the nation from Holder for judicial incompetence, or replace him with an attorney capable of offering informed legal opinions—after reading the law.

There is more to Holder’s brazen obfuscation. Mexican President Felipe Calderon travels this week to Washington, D.C., to officially lodge Mexico’s protest over the Arizona law with Obama and Congress. Calderon, the leader of the most corruption-riddled government in North America, should be told to go home and address the problems from the Mexican side. When the border is secured, the smuggling, home invasions, kidnappings, identity thefts, shootings and government-sanctioned illegal invasions stop, Calderon will find that Americans are willing to talk about a fair solution for the millions of Mexicans already here in the U.S. illegally.

Obama and Holder’s irresponsible misinterpretations of Arizona’s action encouraged a wave of boycotts. The financial harm impacts both Arizona and Mexico. Requests to the Mexican Consulate’s offices in Arizona for papers to re-immigrate to Mexico went from 10 per month to 100 each week since the law’s passage. The dollar amounts of wages paid in the U.S. and sent back to Mexico are declining along with Arizona’s lost tourism business. Arizonans whose businesses and jobs are taking the hit will remember those comments on Election Day.

Los Angeles, a city deeply in debt, has joined the boycott. The only Arizonans celebrating L.A.’s gesture are “Los Suns,” the Phoenix basketball team. Given the Suns slim odds of defeating the Lakers in the NBA Western Conference finals, the politically opinionated team can now hope to avoid a sweep if the boycott means the L.A. team cannot travel to Phoenix. The Lakers would have to forfeit several games.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wisely declined to play political games with the All-Star game next year in Phoenix. True dedication to a heartfelt and controversial stance requires more than wearing a jersey with a semi-bilingual translation on it. Maybe Selig actually read the law.

Boycott Arizona, first called for by Arizona’s own Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, has hurt the state but also generated an unexpected backlash. Arizona business owners are pulling millions of dollars away from the cities boycotting the state, and thousands of the same people who polled in favor of the law are planning desert vacations this year.

This is Obama’s opportunity to demonstrate to the country that immigration reform really is a top domestic priority and not tawdry upcoming-election showboating. After decrying the twisted hype and hyperbole that erroneously defines hot-button social issues, the President should remember his own words—then step up and become the leader America needs.

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Written By

Robert M. Engstrom, a University of Arizona School of Journalism graduate is a former owner/partner of the Casas Adobes Courier in Tucson, a free-lance contributor to Human Events, the Santa Barbara News-Press and other publications. He spent 30 years as a professional aviator accumulating more than 12,000 flight hours in commercial aviation.

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