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Guest opinion

Patterson: SB 1070 is 'flawed solution to a very serious problem'

Gov. Jan Brewer and her Republican friends have been running around Arizona dismissing concerns about Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070.

Republican House Speaker Kirk Adams wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, “The truth behind Arizona’s immigration law,” saying that people haven’t taken the time to read the facts about the bill. Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen sent an e-mail with the subject line “I want to explain SB 1070.”

All have failed to explain any real facts about the new law.

It’s typical of Brewer and her Republican friends who consistently have failed to crack down on the violent and criminal acts that accompany illegal immigration. Their patchwork policies do nothing to solve the real problem that Arizonans experience every day.

They failed to point out that the new law will do nothing to stop the coyotes, human traffickers and dangerous drug and arms dealers that cross our border every day.

They don’t mention that the new law is an unfunded mandate and gives police no resources or funding to implement the new law. Brewer and Republicans took police officers off the streets when they massively cut public-safety funding this year.

Law enforcement also can be sued if they don't enforce the law and no doubt will be sued if they do. The law actually unwisely ties the hands of police officers instead of enabling them to protect our communities.

Arizona’s new immigration law is a flawed solution to a very serious problem – crime and violence in our neighborhoods and along parts of the border. There are far better things we can do to solve this problem.

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We need a tough solution to border security and immigration that includes more security along our border. We must crack down on the criminal cartels who deal in weapons and narcotics and stop the human suffering and trafficking by coyotes. We need to sanction employers who hire illegal immigrants.

And we need a tough solution at the national level. This means requiring immigrants to pay back taxes and a fine, learn English, and pass criminal background checks on the path to legalization.

We also need to make sure those who are here legally are treated fairly and respectfully.

Unlike Brewer and her Republican friends, who consistently have failed to crack down on the violent and criminal acts that accompany illegal immigration, Terry Goddard fights for these solutions every day on the job as attorney general.

Goddard is working to keep Arizona safe, by cracking down on criminal cartels and smuggling rings. In fact, Goddard’s historic settlements with Western Union in February helped cut off the pipeline of cash to the criminal cartels. Already, Goddard has secured $50 million in law enforcement funds from the settlement that will be used toward border security.

Arizona's economy cannot handle the expense of a law that does not provide a real solution to the problem. We need to focus on laws that actually do something to combat the violence.

Republicans this year repeatedly ignored House Democrats' bills that directly addressed violent crime and immigration in Arizona. For example:

• HB 2201: Gives authorities better tools to combat weapons trafficking and increase public safety by making it a felony to purchase weapons under false pretenses.

• HB 2149: Combats the use of drop houses and human smuggling across the border.

• HB 2354: Makes it a Class 3 felony if a person commits forgery in connection with purchase, lease or renting of a dwelling used as a drop house.

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Daniel is the representative for Tucson’s District 29 in the state legislature.

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2 comments on this story

Jun 21, 2010, 6:03 pm
-0 +0

There is a way to dramatically slow down the movement of immigration to Arizona. Remove the scheduling of hemp away from a class one drug. It’s not a drug its a plant thats safer than water. Use it industrially and we could save the world.

Jun 16, 2010, 6:21 am
-0 +1

Both parties are rearranging deck chairs and pointing fingers at one another. This is not surprising.

What is surprising is how few people seem to get the obvious truth at the core of the illegal immigration problem: the people buying the drugs and hiring immigrants.

That’s the head of the snake. As long as there’s somebody willing to pay for the drugs and for cheap, exploitable labor there will continue to be people willing to sneak across the border to provide the product.

Remember the law Arizona passed that was going to solve the problem by going after businesses that hired undocumented workers? Businesses fought it vigorously, but lost. Or did they? It seems the battle went subterranean. Last I checked only three businesses had been prosecuted under this law. Clearly, they found a way around it.

And no, it’s not because they have been scared into cleaning up their act. I know a person who was hired by a convenience store in Phoenix and then fired when the owner discovered he was a legal resident. He’d thought he could get away with paying below minimum wage and not paying withholding. Which he did, after he fired my friend and found a Hispanic who was undocumented.

People in this country illegally make great targets for exploitation. They have no recourse, and if they object the owner can simply turn them in to ICE. Problem solved.

As long as we fail to get to and eliminate root causes of drug addiction there will be entrepreneurs willing to meet the need. It’s a highly profitable business, with the side benefit of having no taxes to pay. Cartels now have more money than small countries, and with their resources and ruthless disregard for human life, they operate with little fear of paying for their crimes.

So I’m sorry, Daniel, but the Democrats are no better than the Republicans in this charade. Their approach may be more humane, but when Democrats have been in charge, as they are now in Washington, they are no more effective in solving problems than the Republicans. Both are more concerned with gaining/holding power than risking political capital to actually take bold action.

That would require standing up to exploitive businesses, aka campaign contributors. It would require junking ineffective anti-drug programs and digging deeper to find and address root causes. Both parties are too invested in the status quo to do anything other than enact feel-food legislation, blame the other side and keep on sucking up to their donors.

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Rep. Daniel Patterson


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