Add one part delusion to three parts grandstanding, mixed with a healthy glob of nativism, and what do you get?
Governor Jan Brewer's SB 1070 "counterclaim" against the federal government for not protecting Arizona from "invasion."
You'd think that at least state Attorney General Tom Horne would have sense enough to know that such a claim is doomed to go nowhere.
And perhaps he does, because in his "executive summary" of the counterclaim, he pretty much admits that this maneuver has been attempted before and shot down by the courts.
His summary states that,
"Arizona is unable to bear the staggering cost of protecting itself, and even if it could, the federal government has argued that Arizona is preempted from taking action to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. A similar claim was rejected 14 years ago by the Ninth Circuit....We are asking for a second look by the Ninth Circuit, or a first look by the U.S. Supreme Court."
Horne insists that "conditions have changed," but he knows better. This is pure posturing, a stunt to grab the media's attention for two seconds. It's laughable on its face.
So too is the claim that the federal government has not defended Arizona from an illegal immigrant "invasion."
Now, the use of military metaphors is one thing in the world of ideology, politics and polemics. Hyperbole's to be expected in those realms.
But in a legal document you want the federal court to take seriously? Come on.
Horne's summary asserts that,
"The word `invasion' does not necessarily mean invasion of one country by another, but can mean large numbers of illegal immigrants from various countries."
In the minds of nativist extremists, perhaps. This is exactly the sort of rhetoric they use to demonize Hispanic immigrants.
Agreed, one can use the word "invasion" in a lot of ways. You could say that every November, Arizona suffers an "invasion" of blue-haired snow birds from states like Michigan. But I don't think the U.S. Constitution instructs the federal government to protect us from them.
Article IV, section four of the Constitution states that, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion..."
That clearly indicates a military incursion, not the mass migration of wannabe dishwashers and lettuce-pickers.
Another disturbing claim in Horne's suit conflates the 9/11 hijackers with garden-variety illegal immigrants.
Horne's summary cites "the national security aspect of the [immigration] problem which has become evident since 9/11" as justification for asking the courts to reconsider such a suit of the feds.
And the suit itself states that "several terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 were illegal aliens."
But the 9/11 hijackers did not cross the Sonoran desert, hike across the Canadian-American border, or wash ashore on the California coast. They entered the U.S. via business, tourist and student visas.
The 9/11 Commission's staff report on terrorist travel notes that, "The 19 hijackers applied for 23 visas and obtained 22. Five other conspirators were denied U.S. visas. Two more obtained visas but did not participate in the attack for various reasons."
Some overstayed their visas or used fraud in the process. But they didn't smuggle themselves across the border. They entered through ports of entry.
And, obviously, the 9/11 terrorists were not from Mexico or Central America. They were Saudi, Egyptian, Lebanese.
The hype about terrorists crossing the southern border of the U.S.? It's just that, hype. There are easier ways to enter the United States.
In any case, the Horne-Brewer counterclaim has served its purpose. It got Horne and Brewer on the news, and no one had to talk about Sand Land's $800 million budget shortfall.
If Brewer is really concerned that the feds are not securing the border, despite sinking millions in resources into the effort, she could always stop her whining and declare a state of emergency.
Last year, President Obama sent hundreds of National Guard troops to the border, but conservanuts criticized the move as being not enough.
Hypothetically, the governor could send down more Arizona National Guard troops. Or she could order every Arizona Department of Public Safety officer to go sit on the border.
In fact, she has the power to do this according to Arizona law, A.R.S. 26-172, which states the following:
When the governor proclaims an emergency, or deems it necessary to protect lives or property, the governor may mobilize all or any part of the national guard or the unorganized militia into service of the state. The order directing the national guard or the unorganized militia, or any part thereof, to report for active duty shall state the purpose for which it is mobilized and the objectives to be accomplished.
As far as putting DPS on the border, if the governor declares a "state of emergency" or a "state of war emergency," she can do it under A.R.S. 26-303. This law says, in part, that,
During a state of emergency:
1. The governor shall have complete authority over all agencies of the state government and the right to exercise, within the area designated, all police power vested in the state by the constitution and laws of this state in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
2. The governor may direct all agencies of the state government to utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities designed to prevent or alleviate actual and threatened damage due to the emergency. The governor may direct such agencies to provide supplemental services and equipment to political subdivisions to restore any services in order to provide for the health and safety of the citizens of the affected area.
Misapplication of resources? Sure, it would be. But isn't that one of the federal government's arguments -- that it gets to decide how it allocates its resources, not the states?
Surely, if we're being "invaded," Brewer should act -- instead of filing a frivolous counterclaim, one that both she and her Attorney General know is dead on arrival.