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Az Dems: Romney, like Pearce, is immigration 'extremist'

SB 1070 author says he, Romney share 'identical' views

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WASHINGTON – Democrats seized on former state Sen. Russell Pearce’s recent claim that he and Mitt Romney have “identical” views on immigration to try to paint the GOP presidential hopeful as an “extremist” on immigration reform.

Romney’s stance on immigration would make him the most extreme presidential nominee of our time if chosen by Republicans, said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, one of three Democratic congressmen attacking the GOP frontrunner Friday.

“Under a Romney presidency we can see immigration continue to be …  an issue that would be exploited,” said Grijalva, who was joined on a conference call by Reps. Charlie Gonzalez of Texas and Xavier Becerra of California.

The call came days after former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of the state’s SB 1070 immigration law, reportedly said Romney’s immigration views “identical to mine.”

“Attrition by enforcement. It’s identical to mine – enforce the laws,” the Washington Post quoted Pearce as saying after a political dinner Tuesday. “We have good laws, just enforce them.”

Neither Pearce nor Romney returned phone calls seeking comment Friday.

On his campaign website, however, Romney outlines an immigration policy that calls for securing the border by completing a high-tech fence and hiring Border Patrol agents. He also said he supports E-Verify and opposes “magnets” for illegal immigration, such as amnesty programs and in-state tuition for people in this country illegally.

Pearce – who lost a recall election in November, largely over his aggressive immigration positions – told the Post he did not want “to take credit for being there and helping him (Romney) write it, but much of his policy was modeled – by people who I’ve worked with – after my legislation.”

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The law has been challenged by the Justice Department as a state intrusion on federal authority, and is scheduled for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month.

The Democrats said Pearce’s support for Romney, as well as some of things he has said during his campaign, indicate that Romney would try to enact laws like SB 1070 nationally. They claimed that he would veto the DREAM Act, opposes comprehensive reform and encourages immigrants to “self-deport.”

“When you have Russell Pearce say that Mitt Romney’s plans on immigration are identical to his, that should be a red flag to anybody who cares about this country’s history, the Constitution and the principle of justice,” Grijalva said.

The congressmen said Romney has allied himself with Pearce, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former California Gov. Pete Wilson and other backers of stringent laws against undocumented immigrants.

“We have to reject these policies,” Grijalva said. “And a rejection of these policies is rejecting Mitt Romney.”

It is not the first time Democrats have tried to characterize Romney by association on immigration: When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorsed Romney in February, Gonzalez and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., cited it as proof of Romney’s “extreme” positions on the issue.

The Democrats Friday also took the opportunity to attack the other Republican presidential hopefuls. Becerra said the other candidates “go from far right to the extreme right – the only difference is, how far can you turn your neck?”

“On issues important to Latinos, you can’t put a thin piece of paper between them (the GOP candidates) on their positions,” Grijalva said.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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5
1517 comments
Apr 9, 2012, 9:40 pm
-0 +0

@Dylan Smith

That’s still not a contradiction. Really, it’s not.

If federal said x and state law said y, then that would be a contradiction. But what we have here is federal law saying x, state law saying that federal law says x, and the feds basically saying “yeah, yeah, we know the law says x, but we’re disregarding it and so should you.”

If you read 1070, you will see that the real key for the feds to defeat this law is to change their own immigration laws. This is much closer to the ethical solution anyway. Having laws that you don’t enforce seems senseless and hypocritical. Selectively enforcing laws is a sixth amendment violation. If Obama and his open border buddies don’t like immigration laws, the solution is not to just ignore them and hope states follow suit…and the solution is certainly not to get Congress’ most slovenly member to hit the media and distort, spin, and outright lie about the issue…the solution for them is to get the laws changed to something they can live with. 1070 just calls for enforcement of federal immigration laws…despite the heavy media spin to the contrary, it doesn’t spell out what those laws are or should be.

I’d like someone on the other side of the issue to just explain to me why it’s too much to expect people to immigrate here legally. Gabby Saucedo-Mercer did. Just sayin’...

4
426 comments
Apr 9, 2012, 9:00 pm
-0 +0

@Bret Linden

Well, for starters there’s the constitutional preemption of immigration laws in favor of the federal government. While that’s not a 100 percent prohibition on immigration-related state laws, it’s a pretty high hurdle. California’s attempt at a similar law failed at the appeals court level for that reason, and the state chose not to pursue the case to the Supreme Court.

For more, see this Factcheck.

3
1517 comments
Apr 9, 2012, 8:44 pm
-0 +0

SB1070 didn’t give local cops more powers then they already have…even Dupnik admits that. But, mandate yes. They no longer have the option to blow off running in a border jumper under the law…now they must.

And, about the new state crimes you mention…aren’t those the only parts of it that activist judge Susan Bolton left alone?

Most opponents of SB1070 keep telling me how it conflicts with federal law, yet they won’t tell me exactly which federal law it conflicts with. I’d really like them to spell it out for me because I just can’t figure it out. If someone could provide links to the federal laws it conflicts with I’d be grateful…but I’m not holding my breath, because I don’t think it’s there.

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Cronkite NewsWatch

Former state Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the state’s high-profile immigration law, SB 1070, reportedly said GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s immigration stance is 'identical to mine.' Pearce is shown here in November during a recall election that he lost, largely because of the issue.

Romney on immigration

  • Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
  • Grant permanent residency status to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science and engineering
  • Secure the border
  • Turn off the “magnets” to illegal immigration
  • Enforce the law
  • Oppose amnesty
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