There's a fresh twist in the debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law. Although Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio — a Tea Party favorite — initially warned that the legislation could turn Arizona into a "police state," he says he's comfortable with the law after the state made controversial revisions to its language last weekend. (The law, reports the Christian Science Monitor, now specifies "that police may only question the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally if they have already stopped them for a different reason.") Democrats promptly accused Rubio of flip-flopping. What accounts for his U-turn? (Watch Marco Rubio's anti-immigration-law comments last week)
He's attempting to please his reactionary backers: Rubio probably felt obligated to align himself with the "mostly reactionary national conservatives supporting his Senate bid," says Alex Pareene in Salon. But claiming the racial implications of this bill have now been dealt with is a "flimsy excuse." How can this son of Cuban refugees truly support a "harass-all-the-brown-people bill"?
"Marco Rubio says deport all the immigrants"
He realizes the bill is no longer about race: Arizona legislators have acted to ensure race is no longer a factor in "the enactment or enforcement of the law," says Mark Noonan at Blogs for Victory. That hasn't stopped liberals from complaining, but "Rubio's position puts an end to any attempt to rationally call the law anti-Hispanic." Anyone pulling the race card now is just playing politics.
"Rubio favors Arizona immigration law"
He's just trying to get voters on his side: Arizona lawmakers may have "tweaked" the law, says Suzy Khimm in Mother Jones, but "not much has changed." The only difference is that Rubio and critics like him have a "cover to soften their opposition or come out in favor of the law" now that it's proven popular with the GOP crowd. Rubio's just trying to "improve his short-term electoral prospects" in what could be a competitive race.
"Will Rubio's flip-flop on Arizona help his campaign?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The next pandemic
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- How China sparked an Asian frenzy for killer submarines
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
Subscribe to the Week