Idaho politics: Change of heart? Otter sides with Arizona on immigration law

Maybe states' rights concerns trumped civil liberties concerns.

Or, maybe, election-year politics prevailed over all other considerations.

Regardless, Gov. Butch Otter has changed his tone about Arizona's controversial immigration law. Today, he announced that Idaho has filed a "friend of the court" brief backing Arizona in its defense of the law.

"State officials have the right under existing federal law to identify illegal aliens and report them to federal authorities," Otter said today. "It’s our affirmative duty to protect states’ rights, and that’s particularly important when a lawsuit seeks to punish a state for doing what the federal government has failed to do – protect our borders and American citizens."

In May, Otter criticized Congress for failing to resolve the immigration crisis, but questioned whether police officers could enforce the Arizona law without violating civil liberties. "It would take a person, I suspect, bigger than I not to immediately begin to profile."

Read and compare.

Here's what Otter said today, in a news release:

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced today that the State of Idaho has joined Michigan in filing a “friend of the court” brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Arizona’s law on illegal immigrants.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, in consultation with the Governor, signed on to the amicus brief Thursday. It makes the case that states have the authority to concurrently enforce federal immigration law, provided that states do not create new categories of aliens or attempt to independently determine the immigration status of an alien.

The brief also contends that the Arizona law is consistent with the regulatory scheme established by Congress — which is one of concurrent enforcement, where the federal government must respond to any inquiry by a state or local government agency seeking to verify the immigration status of any person within its jurisdiction.

“Arizona is simply requiring its law enforcement officials to help the federal government enforce immigration law as envisioned by Congress,” Governor Otter said. “State officials have the right under existing federal law to identify illegal aliens and report them to federal authorities. It’s our affirmative duty to protect states’ rights, and that’s particularly important when a lawsuit seeks to punish a state for doing what the federal government has failed to do – protect our borders and American citizens.”

Eleven states now have joined in the appeal from a federal judge’s initial ruling against Arizona in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

And here's what he said in a May 12 editorial board interview (and here's a link back to my blog at the time):

"I'm not going to become a saint by outlining the sins of others, but I look on it, that was a move of desperation. And increased by frustration. ... I'm not sure how you can possibly turn that around, but I certainly understand (Gov.) Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature's absolute frustration. The total failure of the federal government, that's a failure of federal policy. Whatever comes of that has to be laid at the doorstep of the federal government. ...

"If they would pay as much attention to those things like immigration and border control that they should be doing, and pay less attention to all of the other things that they're mucking about in that are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars by unfunded mandates and those sort of things, I think we probably wouldn't see that sort of frustration that boiled up as much as it has in Arizona. ...

"The only way my libertarian tendencies get frizzled a little bit with that is, I don't know how you implement that law without the personal bias of people who become the enforcement tools to implement that law. ... It would take a person, I suspect, bigger than I not to immediately begin to profile."

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Flip Flop

"It would take a person, I suspect, bigger than I not to immediately begin to profile."

Me too! I profile Mr. Otter as a politician who's pandering to his "tea party" leaning constituency. (I'm sure he gave his ag-industry backers the heads-up that he's not serious; he just needs to get reelected.)

Pandering is...

the right word. I hope a group of citizens will join together and sue Otter, enjoining him from engaging in this additional embarrassment.


Does this mean Olmstead and his merry band of ag interests are going to Allred like they did with Minnick? That would be quite the coup.

Welcome to an election year.

Much like McCain, Butch has slipped into trying to figure out what his base wants instead of sticking to what he believes. Butch Used to have a political conscience. Now he is just another politician at the beck and call of money.

However, I am curious what was said in all the "..." of which there are quite a few in both your previous blog and this one. I have personally witnessed the use of selective quotes totally changing the meaning of what was discussed in a meeting with the press. In a newspaper article you are limited by space so I understand the editing, but there is no reason not to include the entire quote in a blog. In today's society, about the only people with less credibility than a politician is the press. They've earned it.


"Otter" make up his mind.

I would agree, but

WHAT mind? Personally, I feel he really should take the honest route and retire because his mental faculties are beginning to show the ravages of advancing age.

Side note: the Statesman seriously needs to change its filtering software because, through it, the Statesman is actively promoting fundamental illiteracy through frequent coerced misspellings of perfectly legitimate words. Case in point: above I tries to use the mathematical term for the outcome of an additive series. However this perfectly legitimate word got red flagged by the software because I spelled it correctly. That is insanity only our inane Guv could approve of.

Which ever way the wind blows

Our esteemed governor cannot seem to make up his mind, except when it comes to helping out aliens,chinese, or his corporate friends that feed his reelection campaign funds, kinda reminds me of a fresh cauht fish on the bank flopping like mad to get home.

So now it's concurrent

Is that how Gov. Otter plans to cover all bases? Is it fine with him to accept federal largess like subsidized irrigation, farm subsidizes, a federal bailout of education here, federal transportation monies and all while either suing the feds or joining other states as a "friend of the court".

Concurrent = hypocrisy this time.

Had lunch at a 5 Guys burgers today and I noticed a pallet of

Idaho potatoes there. Excellent fries, raved the customers, and thankyou Idaho for your tasty food products. Edge City dosen't grow potatoes Idaho does, the country needs your food, get over it.

Edge City dosen't grow potatoes

How edgy, eating at a franchise. I'd have to say how commercial, were you sold where to eat or did you shop around. McDonald's is the biggest outlet for Idaho fries, 5 Guys has a way to go but they are still just another chain.

Apparently you haven't been to 5 Guys

They might be a franchise and all but the food is always extremely good no matter where you find them. And the pallets of Idaho Spuds that grace their eaterys is pretty impressive. Ericn you can't even buy bakers in Idaho like they have in bags on pallets in their restraunts.

The people

Wow do you think Otter finally listened to the majority of the people instead of the 18 year old brains of the libs. Something’s up he is not that smart. Whatever the reason I'm glad he is finally standing up (a bit) to the illegal immigrant problem.

Otter filing a brief for AZ...

equates to solving the immigration problem here in Idaho?
I guess you have no standards of actual reform or action by your leaders.

SB 1070 does not protect the border

It does nothing about protecting the border. Otter is trying to gain votes, which isn't totally stupid. If you really want to see how things work in Arizona, have a look at our governor's horrendous showing in her televised debate from Wednesday night. It's all over You Tube. She'll still win. It's fashionable to hate Mexicans right now.

Whats new?

Obama does this "horrendous showing" every time he talks. She may have messed up, but she is still doing a lot more about the illegal problem than "our great leader".

Who are you listening too??

Korp - your comment is about the most asine I have ever read on here, hands down. I guess when you only listen to Rush and Hannity and company, some one like our President, who is articulate and smart, must sound pretty foreign to someone like you. Vote for Allred!

You know Cre8

It's comments like yours trying in vain to support a failed regime that are going to help lead to the blood letting in Nov.

You know mateo

It's comments like yours that show how afraid you really are. Go listen to Rush...he's calling your name.

Oh Auntie Em, I had the strangest dream!


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Oh okay...

outright lying is good with your ilk.

Otter is failing the state

Otter needs to step down. His appointments to the Departments are inept (Health and Welfare's Dick Armstrong for one, with his Medicaid disaster), his policies for creating jobs in Idaho are non-existent, his frivolous lawsuits are spending money that could be used for schools, corruption is rampant (North Idaho state workers also own facilities getting state money), his cronies in the Legislature are out to destroy the middle class, his buffonery is making Idaho the laughing stock of America, and this issue of supporting Arizona is so disingenious. His law enforcement branch does not even try to enforce the laws dealing with illegal immigration - bad for business. And he chortles about the Feds not doing their job. Do your job Otter, or can you? Vote for Allred.


Power corrupts, case in point: Butch Otter; one of the majority of corrupt and worthless politicians. Butch gets rich while we suffer under his so called governance as a mindless wonder.

Heres a novel idea for you...............


Why is the Rights answer always...

Move? Why should we move...we are changing this state for the good, not Otter.

Make Merle Haggard move first!

He will never do it!


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Why do you love

ill*ustrating your extreme ignorance again and again and again?

Why do you hate America and its constitution of governance so much that you cannot tolerate any opinion but your own? The real question is why haven't you moved to say, Libya or Iran?
You would feel real comfortable there, except you lack any necessary equipment to back up your mouth.

The northenders " commy puss pocket" out in force..............

I just love it when Otter gets all you commy northrearenders undies all
bunched up......................
by the way I participated in the Arizona "buycott",since the people of
Arizona enjoy more of the same by electing "fossil" progressive J.MCcain-----I will be returning my purchases next week


You sound like a right winger from the 60's. Most of them are dead.

The rest cry about Medicare.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

now you know what other states see -

when they watch Idahoans elect the likes of Sali, Craig, Otter and company. You people really wonder why businesses do not want to locate here or invest in Idaho products - hahahahahaha - look in the mirror

I live in Ontario Oregon and don't cuss my mama and daddy!


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Arizona governor makes mistatements

So what, the thought of suing the feds was the right move for the coutry, we can no longer go about delivering the wohole world from it's self, seems as though Butch took a pole and found that Idahoans like what she did, so decided to jump on the band wagon, which ever way the wind blows to get reelected.

It's bankrupt, wasted and hot so...

Give everything bsck to Mexico.

Not TEXAS, think for a minute, it was a sovereign REPUBLIC that won it's independence from Mexico prior to joining the Union and it can legally return to be a republic/nation by law.

Then give Alaska to Canada and end the epic FOOLNESS.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne