Arizona’s immigration debate has descended into the theater of the absurd.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has now unleashed a campaign ad defending a controversial new law, which requires non-citizens to carry around their residency papers with them wherever they go, and provide them to police upon request.
The ad features a grumbling puppet frog, who expresses indignation that the law’s critics haven’t actually read it.
The ad begins as a paean to reading, as if it were part of a Sesame Street segment. It becomes quickly apparent, however, that the send up to reading is actually an attempt to demonize opponents of the law.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is featured in the ad as saying she hadn’t read the law, recently rebuked Brewer for its passage, saying that it would cause Hispanics to flee the Republican Party in droves.
“Hispanics — who have a natural home in the Republican Party because they are socially conservative — will flee in droves,” Napolitano said. “She’s also gonna bankrupt her state, because no insurance company will provide coverage for this. And for all the lawsuits that will happen — for all the people that are wrongfully stopped — her budget will be paying for it. Her budget will be paying the legal bills of the lawyers who sue on behalf of those that were stopped.”
In a joint press appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon last week, President Obama also criticized the law.
“I think the Arizona law has the potential of being applied in a discriminatory fashion,” Obama said. “Now, after it was initially passed, the Arizona legislature amended it and said that this should not be carried out in a discriminatory way. But I think a fair reading of the language of the statute indicates that it gives the possibility of individuals who are deemed suspicious of being illegal immigrants from being harassed or arrested.”
Mexico has warned its citizens about traveling to Arizona, saying they could be racially profiled.
The ad is titled, “Arizona Sing-Along: Read Immigration Law.”