Friday, February 17, 2006

Immigration News from the Front Lines

Living in the Borderlands of the Southwest U.S. provides an interesting outlook on the immigration battles being waged in Washington, D.C. There are currently two dueling bills in the Senate alone, both with Arizona lawmaker-support. President Bush has taken a somewhat moderate position on any future reform packages, but it is clear that many members of his base are not willing to budge from their hardlined stance.

Here on the homefront, the state legislature has been working to actively encroach on the rights of undocumented immigrants. The ideological split is decidedly conservative, so it is frustrating for me as a Latino liberal to read the headlines whenever they decide to combat their fear of the eeeeeevil aliens crossing the border.

For example, yesterday a bill was passed that would allow local law enforcement agents to get in on the human round-up action
The Arizona Senate approved a bill yesterday that would expand a trespassing law so local authorities could arrest illegal immigrants.

Supporters say the approach would help communities catch illegal immigrants who manage to slip past federal authorities in Arizona, the busiest illicit entry point along the nation's porous southern border.

It's not easy maintaining a cool temper when you stop to realize that you are a member of the only group of people who are actively hunted in the United States. Hunted!

This follows on the heels of two proposals passed on Wednesday that will increase penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants

A committee of the Arizona Legislature approved two proposals Wednesday that would create a state law prohibiting employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

Some advocates for lessening Arizona's role as the nation's busiest illegal entry point said employers are fueling the problem by giving construction, agricultural and service industry jobs to immigrants.

Illegal immigrants account for 10 percent of all Arizona workers and more than 4 percent of all workers in the U.S. economy, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates.


While both state proposals would prohibit illegal hirings, the key distinction between the two is that one bill would protect businesses from prosecution if they trained their human resource employees to comply with federal hiring rules and if they followed other requirements.


Before I forget, they also want to build the Great Wall of Arizona...

A legislative committee endorsed a proposal Wednesday to ask voters to approve the construction of a wall at the Arizona-Mexico border to keep immigrants from entering the state illegally.

If the proposal clears the Legislature and is approved by voters in November, the wall wouldn't stretch the full length of Arizona's 375-mile border with Mexico, but would be built in spots where radar and other sensor technology couldn't stop the flow of illegal immigrants, said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, sponsor of the proposal.

"Whatever it takes," said Pearce, the Legislature's staunchest advocate for reducing illegal immigration.

And just to make sure that everyone gets on board with their racist-driven temper tantrum, they have enlisted the support of our Democratic Governor to tie in the state's drug problems with the flow of people north.

Bill Ekstrom, a former Mohave County attorney who fought against the rise of illegal labs in his area, said meth is smuggled into Arizona through tunnels, cars or planes. He saw firsthand how meth addiction ripped apart families when parents left their children at home while they desperately tried score more drugs.

"I don't know exactly how the governor's plan will work, but she's definitely going after the illegal flow of meth from Mexico to Arizona," said the former county attorney who now does special cases for Mojave County. "This is an important statement for the governor to make. Meth isn't a partisan issue."
Sigh, and so the fight continues...

Crossposted at My Left Wing

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