Tag Archives: illegal immigration

russell-pearce-0262

Pearce quits GOP post over Medicaid remarks

Former Arizona legislator Russell Pearce, the chief sponsor of Arizona’s hard-line law against illegal immigration, has resigned a top leadership position in the state Republican Party after he was criticized for remarks advocating mandatory contraception or sterilization for people on Medicaid.

The party late Sunday night announced Pearce’s resignation as first vice chairman — the state party’s second top leadership post — after some Republican candidates denounced the comments that Pearce recently made while hosting a radio program.

Pearce said in a statement released by the party that he was resigning his position because he didn’t want to be a distraction during the campaign leading up to November’s elections.

He was criticized for saying: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligation.”

But Pearce said in his statement that he had “shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author.”

“This was a mistake,” Pearce added in the statement. “This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates.”

lecture series

Downtown Phoenix Lecture Series Concludes With Western Writer J.P.S. Brown

An award-winning Western writer, a fifth-generation Arizona rancher and one of state’s most legendary literary figures will close out a popular Downtown Phoenix lecture series this month.

Joseph Paul Summers Brown, known to the literary world as “J.P.S. Brown,” will conclude the spring 2012 Humanities Lectures Series at the Downtown Phoenix campus with his presentation of, “Talking About Cowboys, Corruption and the Arizona Border.” The lecture, hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and ASU Project Humanities, takes place 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, 2012, at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, room 110. It is free and open to the public.

“Recently, the Mexico-USA border became a hot topic all over the country; yet even more spicy in the state of Arizona. Some of the contentious issues include illegal migration, undocumented workers, birthrights abuses, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, and even littering,” said Dr. Mirna Lattouf, humanities faculty and series organizer.” There are as many sides to this topic as there are people chiming in; all are equally important whether they are coming from an emotional or academic place. Mr. Brown has been on both sides of the metaphoric fence; born, raised and lived in the area all his life. He has seen, experienced and written much about the heart and soul of the Arizona-Mexico region. This presentation cuts through the politics and speaks from that place; it is a place of recognizing everyone’s humanity in all of its complexities.”

Brown was born in Nogales, Ariz. in 1930 and is a fifth-generation Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, cattleman. He was a reporter for the El Paso Herald-Post, and was later a commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he coached a boxing team. Released from active duty in 1958, Brown bought cattle and horses in Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja, Calif., Coahuila, and Jalisco. He rode the horseshoe trails of the Sierra Madre Occidental from Chinipas, Chihuahua to Sahuaripa, Sonora. Those rich experiences led to an accidental career in Western literature.

“I did not want to write. I wanted to cowboy and be an artist at that,” Brown says. “But while in Mexico, I came down with hepatitis and began writing stories about the cowboy way.”

Brown got hooked to writing, even though it took him six years to finish his first novel, Jim Kane, which was published in 1970 by Dial Press. The book was later optioned by First Artists and made into a 1972 movie called Pocket Money starring Paul Newman and Lee Marvin. He followed Jim Kane with other classics such as The OutfitSteeldustThe Cinnamon Colt, and The Forests of the Night, considered by reviewers and Southwestern academics as the best book ever written about the people and animals of Mexico’s Sierra Madre. His latest effort, The Spirit of Dogie Long, will be for sale after the lecture.

For directions, visit nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/directionsdt.htm. For parking information, visit nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/parking.htm. For more information, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at (602) 496-0638.

Arizona Flag

Arizona Politics 2010: The Year That Was SB 1070

It’s the start of 2011. This is usually when everyone writes top 10 lists for the year just past. I was going to write a “top 10 political stories of 2010 column,” when it occurred to me that was the year of one main significant political story.

Oh, there were plenty of important political happenings. President Obama and the Democrats were crushed nationally in the midterm elections. Arizona said goodbye to Congressman John Shadegg, Congressman Harry Mitchell, and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, and hello to newly elected Congressmen Paul Gosar, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert.

Our state struggled to balance the budget, and almost every city in Arizona made major cuts in order to balance theirs. Gov. Jan. Brewer’s re-election faced an early challenge from within her own party. During the general election campaign she froze in a televised debate and didn’t seem to offer any tangible evidence of headless bodies in the desert. Then of course she sailed to an easy victory at the polls.

Voters even decided that marijuana should be legal in Arizona (as medicine that is).

None of these other stories came anywhere close to being as significant as the firestorm created by the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, more commonly known by its Senate bill number, SB 1070. At one point in the 2010 legislative session, SB 1070 seemed to lack support and was close to being dead. Then tragically, on March 27, southeastern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was found shot to death alongside of his dog. His ranch sits 12 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. SB 1070 found new life and was signed into law on April 23.  Suddenly the nation was abuzz about Arizona. It even became a headline internationally.

Those first few weeks were a little surreal. Almost daily, you could find our local elected officials on national talk shows speaking out in favor or against it. Supporters justified that action was needed to deal with illegal immigration, an issue the federal government was ignoring. Opponents claimed SB 1070 would violate civil rights and lead to racial profiling.

SB 1070 was a little vague, so on April 30, HB 2162 was passed to amend and clarify it.

A boycott was called against Arizona and numerous lawsuits were filed, including one by the U. S. Department of Justice. The day before SB 1070 was to go into effect, a federal judge issued an injunction against a portion of the law that effectively killed it.

You might think that this is where the SB 1070 story ends, but it doesn’t — and that is what makes it such a huge event. Although nationally, numerous jurisdictions and high-profile people were passionate in their opposition, polling showed that it was more popular with the masses. A number of states are discussing similar legislation for 2011.

In the New Year, Russell Pearce, the Arizona Senate president and major sponsor of SB 1070, is continuing to focus on the same issue. With the start of the next Arizona Legislative session, he intends to take on the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment dealing with citizenship being granted to anyone born in the U.S. He is trying to prevent illegal immigrants from getting citizenship for their children by fleeing to America and having a baby on U.S. soil.

Although SB 1070 didn’t get enacted, it did serve part of the purpose it supporters intended. Illegal immigrants now recognize Arizona as the least friendly state to homestead in.

I still believe that SB 1070 would not have really fixed the problems it was intended to fix. However, it was successful in driving a complicated issue into the mainstream of discussion on the national level.

Immigration

We Need Immigration Reform, Not Immigration Hype

SB 1070. It has been a few months since it passed, making Arizona the focus of so much national attention. As I have listened to Arizona, the entire country, and even some international Latina singers debate the issue, I have found ironies on both sides.

First, on the pro-SB 1070 side: Republicans (especially Arizona Republicans in state government) hate federal mandates being imposed on states. It’s a fundamental belief in conservative circles that we should have fewer unfunded mandates and more local control. Republican-sponsored SB 1070 flies in the face of these principles. Here’s one way to look at it. The Arizona Legislature was so frustrated that the federal government wasn’t stepping up and dealing with illegal immigration that it passed a law MANDATING that local jurisdictions had to do it. The state didn’t offer cities and counties any money to accomplish this, nor did the state step forward and offer its own resources, such as the National Guard. Local governing bodies were not just told that they could enforce immigration laws but also that they had to, or they could be sued. By any definition, this is an unfunded mandate that supersedes local control. Chalk it up to the ends justifying the means.

On the anti-SB 1070 side, I was surprised at how out of touch opponents were with the average Arizonan’s view on the issue. Polls started reporting that 70 percent of Arizonans supported the new law even in the face of national criticism and boycotts. Most opponents to SB 1070 chalked this up to bad polling and inaccurate data. Everybody must have gotten it wrong though, because those numbers have pretty much held up for the last few months. In fact, a number of other states report similar support, and we can expect more states passing this type of legislation. People are frustrated.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too fond of SB 1070 when it passed. But one morning while watching CNN, President Obama helped me to become frustrated. In light of his opposition to Arizona’s new law and the understanding that the federal government was negligent in dealing with the issue, he claimed that U.S. immigration policy was not a pressing current national priority. This was just after SB 1070 passed! What I heard him saying was, “Ask not what your country can do for you. And don’t ask what you can do for your country either!”

Then there is the question of why the federal government has never protested when other local jurisdictions in America have declared themselves “safe-harbor” areas for illegal immigrants. It seems they are establishing national immigration policy in the opposite direction, and yet, the federal government has failed to protest these policies or voice any public opposition.

I don’t believe that SB 1070 is really worth the national hype it has received. The courts have struck down the portion that local jurisdictions opposed most. If the courts hadn’t, would this really have been the solution to the illegal immigration problem in our country? It seems we need to establish a stronger, more practical border policy before much of any immigration policy reform is going to help.