The smartest thing the Republican Party could do right now, as in today, is introduce a bill in Congress to expressly authorize states to enforce federal immigration law, and to pass their own laws to combat illegal immigration. The Democrats would of course prevent that bill from reaching the President's desk, and the Republicans would have a major, winning issue for November.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, moreover, will probably reverse Judge Bolton's decision in any event. I know, I know, you're thinking that particular court is "liberal" and "the most reversed court in America." But if you review the Ninth Circuit's decisions on federal immigration law, you might be surprised because, as I showed in a prior essay, those decisions allow states to enforce existing federal immigration law. In March 2010, moreover, the Ninth Circuit upheld an Arizona law to punish employers who hire illegal aliens.
Nor is Arizona required to sit idly by and wait to appeal the Court's decision. Arizona's legislature will presumably review Judge Bolton's ruling and "amend around" it to the greatest extent possible. For example, if her decision says Arizona cannot require aliens to carry their visa with them, the legislature could simply authorize its officers to determine whether aliens are complying with the federal law that already requires them to do so.
Bottom line: This isn't over. This is just starting.
[To read the judge's ruling for yourself, click here. I'll write more about it after I read it.]