Hmmm. Without issuing a news release, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel yesterday joined 13 other states in a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court defending a 2007 Arizona immigration law that penalizes employers who hire undocumented immigrants. This is not the broader Arizona law under challenge by the federal government, but it covers one of the core issues, whether states can assume immigration enforcement powers. The states argue they've long had the power to regulate businesses and a federal appeals court has agreed with this argument.
Gov. Mike Beebe has expressed some reluctance about adopting a law like Arizona's broad law.
Is this McDaniel filing just a little technical deal over an isolated law or a divergence of opinion on a broader issue? Beebe isn't likely to run for public office again, of course. McDaniel is talking about a run for governor in four years. Will immigration enforcement by the state be an issue at the 2011 legislative session? You betcha.
Chalk it up, at least, as another one to watch.
UPDATE: Beebe's office says he supports McDaniel in this action because Arkansas already has some similar laws, if not quite so broad as Arizona's, aimed at employment of illegals in public contracts. Beebe stands by his reluctance about parts of the broader 2009 Arizona law.