Late Night: Stephen Colbert ‘defends’ Arizona’s immigration laws

On Monday the Supreme Court rejected most, though not all, of the key provisions of the controversial immigration laws passed two years ago in Arizona. While the split decision left both sides claiming victory, on Tuesday night Stephen Colbert took a more pessimistic view.

He claimed the ruling was disastrous “partly because it throws open our country’s borders, but mostly because Mitt Romney now has to express an opinion that will upset Hispanic voters” – a dig at the candidate’s reputation for evasiveness.

Colbert also took aim at Justice Antonin Scalia who, in his dissenting opinion on the case, cited laws from the “first 100 years of the republic” that regulated the movement of freed blacks in Southern states. (Translation: he used pro-slavery laws to justify his support for Arizona’s tough measures.)

This prompted some ironic praise from Colbert: “Yes, the first hundred years of the republic – the good ol’ days.”


“We must return to our founders’ dream of every state deciding who it could turn away at its border,” he continued. “I believe that when I head home to Connecticut after work, I should have to show my papers, especially after they drag off my driver Luis for forgetting his.”

In the end, Colbert suggested that, even without its own immigration policy, Arizona could assert its sovereignty by establishing “its own standing army, its own currency, its own Olympic team, its own space program, and its own debt to China.”

“Strong states’ rights are what made this country,” Colbert concluded, as an image of the Confederate flag flashed on the screen.


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