Holder: AZ Immigration Law Not Racist

By Evan Harris

May 9, 2010 9:54am

Attorney General Eric Holder told me the controversial new Arizona immigration law is not racist, but he remains concerned the law could lead to racial profiling.  In my “This Week” interview, Holder said, “I don’t think it’s racist in its motivation.  But I think the concern I have is how it will be perceived and how it perhaps could be enacted, how it could be carried out.  I think 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, and that is I think something that we have to try to avoid at all costs.”


Holder added that immigration is a national problem and “a state-by-state solution to it is not the way in which we ought to go.”


WATCH VIDEO HERE:


 



  TAPPER:  You’ve said we’re a nation of cowards because we don’t talk
freely and openly about race.  So in that spirit, let me give it a
shot.  Do you think the Arizona immigration law is racist?


    HOLDER:  Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea.  I mean,
I think we have to understand that the immigration problem that we have,
illegal immigration problem that we have, is a national one, and a
state-by-state solution to it is not the way in which we ought to go.


    TAPPER:  But your issue with it is not that it’s state-by-state.
Your issue with it is that there are concerns that there might be racial
profiling that takes place, right?


    HOLDER:  That is certainly one of the concerns that you have, that
you’ll end up in a situation where people are racially profiled, and
that could lead to a wedge drawn between certain communities and law
enforcement, which leads to the problem of people in those communities
not willing to interact with people in law enforcement, not willing to
share information, not willing to be witnesses where law enforcement
needs them.  I think you have to think about the collateral consequences
of such a law, understanding the frustration that people feel in
Arizona.  IT’s one of the reasons why I think we have to have a national
solution to this immigration problem.
   
    TAPPER:  Do you think it’s racist?


    HOLDER:  I don’t think it’s racist in its motivation.  But I think
the concern I have is how it will be perceived and how it perhaps could
be enacted, how it could be carried out.  I think 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, and that is I think
something that we have to try to avoid at all costs.

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