I WAS GOING TO BLOG on the immigration-related arrests of Arab men in California, but I haven’t had time to give it the treatment it deserves. Eugene Volokh has some thoughts, though.
In brief, my observations are: (1) This is hardly the Japanese-American internment revisited. First, they’re not citizens, or even legal residents as best I can tell. And there are only a few hundred to perhaps a thousand of them. (2) These guys are all charged with being in violation of some immigration rule or another — in short, they’ve been arrested because they’re believed to be breaking the law. You may think it’s a stupid law, and a bad idea to arrest people for breaking it — as some might think with regard to arresting someone for having a shotgun with a barrel 1/4″ shorter than the legal minimum, and yes, such arrests do happen. But it hardly represents a fascistic breakdown in the rule of law. At least, if such a breakdown has occurred, it occurred when complicated and often contradictory laws were passed and then not generally enforced, not when these guys were arrested. (3) Inviting people to show up voluntarily for fingerprinting and then arresting a bunch of them seems to me to be a strategy that only works once. If the Feds knew that, then do they have some unstated reason for cracking down on illegal immigrants from Middle Eastern countries in these places and at this time? Possibly. This may be yet another small sign of coming war, and a preemption effort aimed at catching terrorist sleepers. (The other possibility, of course, is that the Feds are idiots, and that’s one never to be discounted, especially where the INS is concerned.)
Beyond that, I don’t know enough to have a clear opinion. More later, perhaps.