Conservatives are taking Obama administration officials to task for condemning Arizona's controversial immigration law without first reading it.
State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Fox News this morning that he has not read Arizona's new law, but he defended another State Department official who criticized it.
Attorney General Eric Holder similarly acknowledged he had not read the bill, as did Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Both Holder and Napolitano have come out against it. Napolitano said she would not have signed such a bill into law as governor, while Holder said the Justice Department is considering a legal challenge to the measure.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a Facebook note today railed against the administration for approaching the law in the "Washington way."
"If the party in power tells us they have to pass bills in order to find out what's actually in them, they can also criticize bills (and divide the country with ensuing rhetoric) without actually reading them," Palin wrote, alluding to remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about health care legislation.
Palin has been a strong defender of the law, which requires immigrants in Arizona to carry documents verifying their immigration status. It also requires police officers to question a person about his or her immigration status during a "lawful stop" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be in the country illegally.
"Arizonans have the courage to do what the Obama administration has failed to do in its first year and a half in office - namely secure our border and enforce our federal laws," Palin wrote. "And as a result, Arizonans have been subjected to a campaign of baseless accusations by the same people who freely admit they haven't a clue about what they're actually campaigning against."
Crowley's remarks today followed a meeting earlier this month between the State Department and Chinese negotiators regarding human rights. Michael Posner, who serves as the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said that the U.S. representatives at the meeting brought up the Arizona law "early and often" as an example of "a troubling trend in our society."
Posner's remarks prompted Arizona's two Republican senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, to write Posner a letter demanding an apology, Politico reported.
"To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive," they wrote.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported today that a Justice Department legal memo written during the Bush administration could complicate Holder's plans to potentially challenge the Arizona law. The 2002 memo concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo.
Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Hot Air blasted the administration for both its treatment of the memo and the Arizona law.
"Immigration reform was a key agenda item for Obama and the Democrats -- and yet no one at the DoJ or the White House apparently thought to withdraw this memo. That speaks volumes about competence," Morrissey wrote. "For a collection of self-described geniuses, they seem particularly incurious readers regarding laws and policy papers."