Despite repeatedly voicing concerns about Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law in recent weeks and threatening to challenge it, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he has not yet read the law — which is only 10 pages long.
“I have not had a chance to — I’ve glanced at it,” Holder said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing when asked by Rep.Ted Poe, R-Texas whether Holder has read the state law cracking down on illegal immigrants.
“I’ll give you my copy of it if you would like,” Poe responded.
Holder told reporters last month that he fears the new law is subject to abuse and that the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department are in the midst of conducting a review.
The Arizona law requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.
The law has sparked protests across the country, including a City Council-approved boycott of Arizona businesses by Los Angeles.But proponents deny that the law encourages racial profiling, with some saying the local controversy is a symptom of a broken federal immigration system.
However, varying public opinion polls show 60-70 percent of Americans support the law.
Holder said last month that a number of options are under consideration, including the possibility of a court challenge.
On Thursday, Holder said he plans to read the law before reaching a decision on whether he thinks it’s constitutional.
When asked by Poe how he could have constitutional concerns about a law he has not read, Holder said: “Well, what I’ve said is that I’ve not made up my mind. I’ve only made the comments that I’ve made on the basis of things that I’ve been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, television, talking to people who are on the review panel…looking at the law.”
On Sunday, Holder said he does not think Arizona’s law is racially motivated but voiced concern that its enforcement could lead to racial profiling.
Holder said he understands the frustration behind the Arizona law, but he warned during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that “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.”