Sen. Isakson: Arizona Is ‘Well Within Their Rights’ on Immigration Law -- Federal Lawsuit is ‘Ridiculous’

By Nicholas Ballasy | August 6, 2010 | 3:32 PM EDT

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)

( - Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said that Arizona authorities are “well within their rights” in implementing a new law against illegal immigration. He added that the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state to prevent it from enforcing the new law is “ridiculous.”
On Capitol Hill, spoke with Isakson about Arizona’s new law against Illegal immigration, which now faces legal challenges, and asked, “Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu came out in public and said, ‘Our government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help.’ Now that he’s out in public in making that statement, would you agree or disagree with his statement?”
Isakson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Well, first of all, we have two counties in Georgia - Cobb County and Gwinnett County - which are 287G counties, which basically means they’ve been deputized as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce the federal law. The 287G provision is a provision of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All the Arizona law does is says they’re going to ask their officers to enforce the federal law if they don’t,” he said.

“I think for the federal government to challenge the Arizona law and yet have a 287G provision in its own law is just ridiculous,” said Isakson. “I think we have an obligation to protect and secure the border.”
Isakson also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs.

According to the official ICE web site, ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) “provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities.”

The 287(g) program is one “component under the ICE ACCESS umbrella of services and programs offered” which “trains local officers to enforce immigration law as authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton placed a temporary injunction on portions of the immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature that allowed law enforcement personnel to check an individual’s immigration status during the course of a criminal investigation if they have probable cause to believe they are in the country illegally. The state of Arizona filed an appeal last Thursday with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I think what the state of Arizona did was well within their rights and I think Governor Brewer did a good job,” Isakson told
“I think at a time when we have so much violence and death on the southwestern border within the drug cartels and human trafficking and everything else, and Americans who have died, as well as bullet holes in buildings in El Paso from bullets coming across the border, we should be securing the border to the south and the states that are on that border deserve the right to protect themselves,” said Isakson.
On the other hand, many Democratic senators like Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have spoken out against Arizona’s immigration law.
“Those of us who are citizens and legal permanent residents could be unlawfully detained until we prove our status,” he said.
“Who among us is willing to accept second-class citizenship? And that, I think, is why having the Obama administration go into court and the results of the judge are incredibly important.”