This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," May 1, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on "The Journal Editorial Report," a new law in Arizona reignites the national debate over immigration. Democrats are attacking the measure. But do they want to pass their own reform bill this year?
And President Obama gets personal, calling out his political opponents, often by name. Is that anyway to run a post-partisan presidency?
Plus, the Ft. Hood stonewall. Six months after the massacre, Senators accuse the administration of withholding vital information. Does the Pentagon have something to hide?
Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
The debate over illegal immigration has been reignited thanks to a new law passed in Arizona that makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documents. The bill signed last week by Republican Governor Jan Brewer allows the police to stop anyone on reasonable suspicion that they may be in the country unlawfully and arrest them on the spot if they cannot produce identity papers.
President Obama criticized the new law this week, saying the measure threatens American core values and would inflame the debate, instead of solving the problem. But he acknowledged there may not be an appetite to overhaul the nation's immigration laws this year.
Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; and editorial board members, Dorothy Rabinowitz and Jason Riley.
So, Dorothy, is this Arizona law a good one?
DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: It's a responsible one considering circumstances. And it's also a very useful one. It throws into very high relief the condition in which we find ourselves in America now, which is we're in the clutch of the most tremendous vice of political correctness, whereby you have this extraordinary problem in Africa — in Arizona, this border state. And every effort to control illegal immigration is met with charges of discrimination, equations with Nazism and every other form of volatile assault.
One thing this law does not do, Jason, is control borders.
JASON RILEY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: It didn't. It doesn't. I understand where Dorothy is coming from. Arizona has become the main entry point for illegal immigration in the country. It's obviously affecting quality of life. In Arizona, citizens are upset about it. There is no control or seeming control of the border. Yet, local officials have their hands tied because federal immigration laws are supposed to be enforced by the federal government. So the state and local authorities can only do so much to respond to the problem. And that is what has resulted in this law.
GIGOT: But you have scarce police resources. We know that. And there is not an unlimited supply of law enforcement personnel. They have to deal with crimes, other crimes. This is — means they're going to have to spend a lot more time looking at IDs and tracking down illegals. Is that a best use of police resources?
RABINOWITZ: I have to answer that the way rational forces intend, which is that you can —
GIGOT: You think it's a rational —
RABINOWITZ: — worry about — you can worry about whether this is the perfect law. The best is the enemy is the good. This cry for action stems this long-running sore, both uncontrolled immigration. It's an absolute lightning rod and it may indeed spread.
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Well, I think we have to understand that Arizona is acting because the failure of the rest of the country to do something about this has meant it's all come down on the head of Arizona, which is the primary portal up from Mexico into the United States, both for immigrants seeking jobs but also for drug gangs. There's been a lot of violence in Arizona. A was an extremely popular farmer who was murdered. This kind of precipitated the vote for this law. They've just been in a kind of hell down there. They acted there out of desperation.