In Arizona, Immigration Law Fallout Continues

The weather isn’t the only thing that’s heating up down here on the border. As temperatures this week inch closer to the triple-digits, the repercussions of SB 1070  – Arizona’s tough new immigration law – continue to remain center stage. (If you haven’t read the law itself, the link above takes you there. Many people commenting on it haven’t even looked at the language.)

Yesterday, Governor Jan Brewer received an envelope in the mail that contained a “powdery white substance” of an as-yet unconfirmed nature. The possible toxin is being lab tested as of this writing.

The Phoenix Suns have entered the fray, with an expected jersey change tonight as a form of protest to the law. The team will be playing under the spanglish moniker, “Los Suns,” (I can’t help being reminded of this classic Chris Farley bit) after Suns General Manager Steve Kerr made the following remarks:

“It’s hard to imagine in this country that we have to produce papers,” Kerr said. “It rings up images of Nazi Germany. We understand that the intentions of the law are not for that to happen, but you have to be very, very careful. . . . It’s important that everyone in our state and nation understands this is an issue that needs to be explored. So, we’re trying to expose it.”

In response, local talk show host Garret Lewis made a suggestion of his own this morning:

The Suns are also against SB 1070 and will wear their “Los Suns” jerseys to honor Latinos. I see the logic. It clearly says to go after “Latinos” in SB 1070, right? The Suns owner is from Tucson. I THINK IT’S COMPLETELY UNFAIR THAT THE SUNS MAKE PEOPLE SHOW A TICKET (DOCUMENTATION) TO GAIN ENTRY TO THEIR ARENA TO WATCH THEIR GAMES. DON’T WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE THERE BECAUSE WE’RE HUMAN BEINGS?

For that matter, one wonders whether the Arizona bishops would appreciate uninvited guests breaking into and taking up residency at their respective residences, claiming a “right” to be there. I’m guessing not.

Meanwhile, the Tucson city council has voted 5 to 1 to sue the State of Arizona over SB 1070:

Mayor Bob Walkup said the law is based on a misguided notion illegal immigrants are bad for the area’s quality of life and economy. “Frankly, I don’t believe that’s true,” Walkup said.

Ironically, Walkup’s comments coincide with the revelation made by Arizona State Supervisor Tom Horne that Pima County officials were knowingly busing illegal immigrants into Tucson city schools, at a cost of $6000 tax payer dollars per student per year. According to comments made by Horne on the radio this morning, the State possesses videos showing buses from one Tucson school district picking up students at border crossings. Horne is seeking to have $1.2 million in education funding from the district returned to cover the public money they estimate went to paying for those students illegally in the district.

Also in the news today is the ongoing recovery of Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy Louie Puroll, who was shot with an AK-47 during pursuit of – wait for it – six suspected illegal immigrants smuggling drugs through the area.

The area’s economy and quality of life are unaffected, Mr. Walkup? Could have fooled me.

By

Steve Skojec serves as the Director of Community Relations for a professional association. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned a BA in Communications and Theology. His passions include writing, photography, social media, and an avid appreciation of science fiction. Steve lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Jamie and their five children.

  • Jack Smith

    Steve – Is Linda Chavez just wrong here:

    The problem with this theory is that actual crime statistics tell a different story. Crime in Arizona has consistently gone down over the last 15 years, even while illegal immigration was increasing. The FBI

  • Michael

    Steve – Is Linda Chavez just wrong here:

    The problem with this theory is that actual crime statistics tell a different story. Crime in Arizona has consistently gone down over the last 15 years, even while illegal immigration was increasing. …

    I lived in Phoenix, Arizona about 15 years ago and crime at the time was very low. People slept in our apartment complex with their doors open to save air-conditioning costs. Somehow I don’t think that happens anymore. Something seems wrong with what is being claimed.

  • Steve Skojec

    Jack,

    It’s impossible to determine correlation and causation from these statistics. For example, look at these numbers from the Center for Immigration Studies:

    http://is.gd/bVSkS

    There’s conflicting data out there, and when you dive deeper, there are nuances. For example, who, more than an illegal migrant worker, has a stronger impetus to stay under the radar and out of the hands of the law? For many workers, a broken tail light or a cracked windshield is all it takes before they’re discovered and sent packing back to Mexico.

    On the flip side, the cartels act with impunity on both sides of the border. They have no respect for U.S. sovereignty or enforcement officials. Massive human and narcotics trafficking happens through the corridor where I live. The crime rate is about triple the national average. Drug use and sale happens openly, all the time. Tucson PD estimates that 70% of all illegal narcotics entering the U.S., enter through our city. We’re considered the “dollar store for drugs,” according to a police crime-free housing training I attended recently.

    Look at what’s going on in Nogales, or more to the point, in the Juarez and Nuevo Laredo areas (among others) and you begin to see a more disproportionately violent pattern emerge. And drug smugglers know how easy it is to take care of a problem and make it look like it was just another illegal who didn’t survive the harsh Sonoran desert. By the time bodies are found, there’s not enough evidence left to prove anything.

    It’s also worth noting that crime statistics are based largely on arrests. How much is going on that never gets prosecuted? And when you add the fact that illegal immigration is itself a crime, it seems ironic to claim that crime is decreasing at an inversely proportionate rate to the increase in illegal immigration.

    Of course, crime isn’t the only story. The strain on public resources – emergency rooms, police, fire, ambulance, schools, food stamps, housing, etc. is significant. I’ve seen estimates on economic impact in border states that range into the double-digit billions. The story I cited above about the Ajo school district is astonishing for its audacity. Officials literally busing children into their district who cross illegally every morning to go to school – at taxpayers’ expense.

    In the end, this remains a human issue. There are people here – people I know – who have lived in this country illegally their entire lives. They’re terrified of being sent back to a country they don’t even know. They’re as American as you or me. There is no simple solution to this problem. It would almost seem that some sort of amnesty would be necessary, though what guidelines would have to be followed would be hard to determine. But the borders have to be closed, and enforcement of current laws has to be enacted. That’s starting to happen in Arizona, and it’s past due.

    Considering the impetus the Church puts on Catholics to follow civil laws, I’m at a loss to explain the Bishops turning a blind eye to blatant violations of national sovereignty and immigration laws. I guess it’s a PC social justice issue, and one of the few things they’re getting good press from the MSM on.

  • Jack Smith

    for a thorough and thoughtful reply.

    I think if you look at Archbishop Chaput’s column in the Denver Catholic Register today and previous writings by Archbishop Gomez, you’d find that neither are turning a blind eye and both admit, like your penultimate graph, that the policy solutions are not simple. Neither of them has called for blanket amnesty or for non-enforcement at the border – the same goes for my boss, Bishop Finn. They do want a federal response that does respond to the issues you raised.

    I’ll admit, Cardinal Mahony is not the least bit helpful in this debate.

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    for a thorough and thoughtful reply.

    I think if you look at Archbishop Chaput’s column in the Denver Catholic Register today and previous writings by Archbishop Gomez, you’d find that neither are turning a blind eye and both admit, like your penultimate graph, that the policy solutions are not simple. Neither of them has called for blanket amnesty or for non-enforcement at the border – the same goes for my boss, Bishop Finn. They do want a federal response that does respond to the issues you raised.

    I’ll admit, Cardinal Mahony is not the least bit helpful in this debate.

    The flaw in the oatmeal is, the reasonable bishops, and the reasonable things that some other bishops say, are all irrelevant. They are irrelevant.

    Only Mahony is relevant, because he rouses actual rabble–and he hews strictly to the Total Amnesty Yesterday line. And that’s what’s going to come out of Congress. And that’s what ALL the bishops are contributing to, utterly regardless of any “nuances” or “realism” that may be visible in statements they publish in their little-read diocesan papers.

    Only Mahony matters. He is in the streets. He is “the bishops.”

  • Steve Skojec

    Jack.

    Whatever the case, and however much better some of the bishops’ statements have been than others, they are out as a moral force opposing a law that simply empowers officials to enforce CURRENT federal laws. Nothing is new, other than the right to determine citizenship status during any routine police action. It’s just a common sense step.

    With a focus on that, the bishops are not helping. Mr. Zmirak’s article yesterday was spot-on as regards the Church’s long standing positions on this issue, and what they should be now.

  • Jesse

    In San Antonio, “Los Spurs”, and in Los Angeles, “Los Lakers”, have been having Hispanic-themed nights for years without making political statements. This has been an NBA marketing technique for cities with large Hispanic populations.

    The Suns must have decided to jump on the bandwagon and score some cheap politically correct points.

  • Rich Browner

    In San Antonio, “Los Spurs”, and in Los Angeles, “Los Lakers”, have been having Hispanic-themed nights for years without making political statements. This has been an NBA marketing technique for cities with large Hispanic populations.

    The Suns must have decided to jump on the bandwagon and score some cheap politically correct points.

    The Suns have worn their Los Suns jerseys before, so it is not some cheap policital gesture. Is it something huge in the grand scheme of things? No, but I am certainly glad they are aware and do it.

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