Airing dirty laundry at the U.N.
The Obama administration, in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, has included the Arizona immigration law controversy.
What possible justification is there for including an ongoing internal U.S. controversy in a report to an international agency? The Arizona law, its constitutionality, states’ rights — all are being examined at this time. If and when the matter becomes settled law, then and only then it might be appropriate to include the law in some kind of report to the U.N., although why any of our internal matters are reportable to the U.N. is a mystery.
Reportedly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the decision to include the dispute in her report to the U.N. to demonstrate to the world how the U.S. deals with such issues. At the very least, she acted prematurely, considering the entire matter is still very much unsettled. (And honestly, would you hold up our immigration mess to the world as an example of how we do things??)
Nor is the controversy an issue of human rights. Nobody has an inherent human right to cross illegally into the U.S. or any other country. It’s not a basic human right to stay in a country in violation of that country’s laws. The issue is, and always has been, legal rights, not human rights.
The U.S. government itself could have challenged the law on whatever basis it wanted, but it chose to challenge Arizona’s right as a state to enact and enforce immigration law, contending that only the federal government can do so. It couldn’t, after all, effectively challenge the provisions of the law since they mirror existing U.S. immigration law.
The U.S. government itself relegated the issue to a jurisdictional dispute. Clinton and the Obama administration are wrong to include it in a report to an international human rights agency.