What Was Hillary Clinton Thinking?
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
This newspaper has been, and is, as pro-immigration as any newspaper we’ve ever encountered. We’re for the free movement of capital, the free movement of trade in goods and services, and the free movement of labor. We see efforts to curb immigration and to oust those who are already here as a form of protectionism. We have opposed nativism and xenophobia at every turn, and we’re not above, when we see it from time to time, calling racism by its correct name. But even we, who feel America is an under-populated nation needing all the people we can get, are shocked at the decision of Secretary of State Clinton to take the matter of Arizona’s immigration law to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
What in the world was Mrs. Clinton thinking? It was bad enough that the Obama administration decided to jettison the hard line in favor of human rights that the Bush administration had maintained in refusing to deal with the United Nations Human Rights Council, which numbers among its members such states as Communist Cuba and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. But for Mrs. Clinton, who is positioning herself for another run for the presidency, to send, as she did, a report to the Council that boasts, even in vague language and in passing, of the Obama administration’s immigration lawsuit against Arizona is appalling. Governor Brewer was right as rain to call the secretary on her blunder. Mrs. Brewer did not put it too strongly when she called Mrs. Clinton’s report “downright offensive.”
“The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a State of the United States to ‘review’ by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional,” Mrs. Brewer said in a letter to Mrs. Clinton. She asserted that human rights — “as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions” — are “expressly protected” in Arizona’s law and “defended vigorously” her own administration in Arizona. We have our doubts about the Arizona law. But we have even graver doubts about the United States Congress, which defaulted when it had a chance, under President Bush, to act. What we have no doubts whatsoever about is the fact that our own courts and legislatures are superior to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
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Governor Brewer’s letter presents a serious question to the administration at a time when the president is off balance and, even among many liberals, seen as increasingly out of touch with the American people. It also represents an opportunity. There is a growing sense that the president has done far too much bowing and scraping abroad and far too little standing up for his own country. The right move for Mr. Obama now is to have Mrs. Clinton revise her report and remove the part about Arizona and, for that matter, any other talk about the situation here at home. These columns would never say that the United States or any one of the states is perfect. But the fact is that there is no body or unit of the United Nations that is fit to review the actions of even the most dysfunctional legislature in the land, not even Albany.