Sunday, May 4, 2008

Horizon recap: lots of discussion of illegal immigration

On Friday night's Journalists' Roundtable, the cadre of left wing white male journalists focused on the #1 issue in Arizona, illegal immigration. They talked about the effort to recall Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon initiated by American Citizens United, because of his attacks on Sheriff Arpaio for arresting illegal immigrants. Although ACU may be able to get enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot, it probably won't pass because Gordon's approval ratings among registered voters who have an opinion is at 65%. Arizona Republic reporter Matt Benson did observe however that Gordon is the only public official who has come out against Arpaio; even our liberal Governor Napolitano and liberal Attorney General Goddard haven't gone that far.

The poll, which is dated April 29, found that 36% of registered voters were unfamiliar with Gordon and 43% were unfamiliar with county attorney Andrew Thomas (Thomas had a 70% favorable approval rating among registered voters with an opinion). Interesting that Thomas's name recognition is almost as high as Gordon's, particularly considered both are rumored to be considering a run for governor in 2010.

The journalists observed that the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association is endorsing Sheriff Arpaio for reelection. This is bad news for Mayor Phil Gordon, considering his recent attacks on Arpaio over their differences in enforcing immigration laws. The reality is, the average cop on the street wants the ability to arrest illegal immigrants if he believes they are breaking the law, and Gordon and his Phoenix Police Chief Harris have refused to give them the discretion to do so. The PLEA endorsement is sort of a mutiny against Gordon.

Next, the journalists discussed the revised employer sanctions law, which was signed by the governor. Two competing initiatives are still being circulated however. One, the Stop Illegal Hiring Act, which is backed by business interests and a moderate Republican who lost the county attorney race in 2004, Andrew Pacheco, would relax the employer sanctions law. The other, Legal Arizona Workers, is sponsored by Don Goldwater and would toughen the penalties. Benson said that Pacheco may pull his initiative if Goldwater pulls his. However, the journalists all agreed that if Legal Arizona Workers makes the ballot, it will pass. Illegal immigration measures pass easily in Arizona; 4 ballot measures passed by over 70% margins in 2006.

The journalists discussed Governor Napolitano's veto of HB2807, which would have given local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration laws. Even the most liberal members of the state legislature, like Kyrsten Sinema, voted in favor of this bill. Napolitano claimed that the bill was unnecessary, that local law enforcement can already enforce immigration laws. If this was true, then why are Mayor Gordon and Sheriff Arpaio making headlines every day arguing with each other over the ability of local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws? What a disingenuous exuse from Napolitano. Mike Sunnucks from the Phoenix Business Journal noted that Napolitano has been playing both sides of the illegal immigration issue for years. We agree - she talks tough, but her actions speak otherwise.

Napolitano also justified her veto by saying it could cost the state $100 million if the feds don't pick up the tab. This is another red herring argument. Illegal immigrants who commit crimes cost the state more in their use of government social programs than they would if they were arrested and deported. It would be interesting to do a study to determine how much Sheriff Arpaio has saved Arizona taxpayers by arresting illegal immigrants and deporting them. There are so many "hidden" costs that affect every one of us, no matter what we do or where we live. Illegal immigrants disproportionately drive worse cars on our highways, and heaven forbid if they run into you, because unless you have uninsured motorist coverage, you are stuck with the repair bill.

Napolitano vetoed a concealed weapons law that would have reduced the penalty to a fine if someone does not have a concealed weapons permit but conceals a weapon - such as if your open-carry weapon accidentally gets covered up by your shirt. This is no surprise, Napolitano has always been hostile toward the 2nd Amendment.

The journalists discussed the decision of federal judge Raner Collins not to fine the state for failing to provide money for ELL (English Language Learner) students. The legislature agreed to fund ELL with $40 million, and Governor Napolitano signed off on it. This case, filed by Tim Hogan's far left wing public interest law firm, has been going on since 1992 - the costs of defending it must be exhorbitant by now. The journalists rarely mention (they didn't Friday night) that ELL is all about providing illegal immigrant children with English instruction. Ironic how the state wouldn't be in its budget crisis right now if it didn't have to pay for English instruction to illegal immigrants and their children. Fortunately, Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne has been very outspoken all along informing Arizonans of the correlation.

Next, the journalists analyzed the $1.4 billion university stimulus plan being pressured on the legislature by Napolitano and ASU President Michael Crowe. Even though the state is in a billion dollar budget crisis, they are irresponsibly pushing for more spending, claiming that it will "create jobs." Sunnucks asked why the government should be in the business of creating jobs. The journalists said that state jobs are decreasing for the first time since 1982. Not sure exactly what they meant by this, since Arizona's unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing since January. The only way to reconcile these two is that illegal immigrants are leaving the state because of the employer sanctions law, so although there are fewer people employed, those without jobs don't live here anymore. Sunnucks predicted that Napolitano will force the stimulus plan through the legislature by attaching it to the budget some way.

There was some discussion about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's criticism of Napolitano and Goddard for doing little about polygamy in Arizona. Unbelievably, host Ted Simons tried to defend their lack of action. Fortunately, Sunnucks stood up and said it is not acceptable for 55-year old men to be having sex sith 14-year old girls. It is really sad that this has been allowed to go on for years under Napolitano and Goddard. Their legacies will be as the politicians who were too concerned about reelection to do anything to protect politically incorrect children.
Horizon will interview Goddard on Tuesday about his lack of enforcement against the polygamous cult in Colorado City.

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