United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated on Sunday that he doesn’t think that the Arizona law which cracks down on illegal immigration is racially-motivated. But he says that he is concerned that the law might promote racial-profiling. He also acknowledged that the US has a national immigration problem and that the problem can’t be cured with a “state-by-state” solution.
Holder appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and stated that he understands the frustration that led to the law being passed, but “we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done.”
The law allows police to question anyone they believe to possibly be an illegal immigrant, which opens the door to harassment of the state’s Hispanic population. According to the last count, Arizona is 30% Latino. Holder says that the Justice Department is “considering all options,” including a lawsuit claiming that the Arizona law pre-empts federal powers or is a violation of federal civil rights statutes.
Holder has been quoted in the past as stating that America is a “nation of cowards” because it has refused to honestly confront the issue of race. When asked if he still holds that view, Holder stated that “I think it’s changed a bit. I still don’t think we’re at a place where we need to be. I think that we need to talk to each other more about race and the racial things that divide us especially when one looks at the demographic changes that this nation is about to undergo.”
When it comes to Eric Holder, Barack Obama and the immigration problem in America, the bottom line is this:
1) Holder and Obama seem much bolder in addressing the issue of race when the large Latino population is affected, but tend to ignore race when it affects African Americans. Black men are seven times more likely to go to prison than white men, and our country imprisons 5.8 times more black men than South Africa did during the height of apartheid. However, Holder and Obama, both black men, have rarely addressed these problems that serve to destroy the black family in America. The differential treatment is likely due to the fact that the Hispanic community represents a huge voting block (note Holder’s prior reference to “demographic changes”) and therefore possesses a great deal more power than the African American community. While I have publicly agreed with Rev. Al Sharpton’s call for African Americans to join the fight against the Arizona anti-illegal immigration measure, I quietly wonder if other communities (and Eric Holder) will ever stand up in an equally diligent fashion for black folks.