Goddard: Sensible outline for immigration reform | Guest opinion
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Guest opinion

Goddard: Sensible outline for immigration reform

This week we heard two well-reasoned calls for reforming the nation's badly broken immigration system. Though the calls came from very different places, they propose similar reforms that I have long supported and deserve the immediate attention of Congress.

One call came from President Obama, the other from a coalition of 19 Arizona business groups. Both emphasized that the immigration problem cannot be solved without comprehensive federal reform.

The recommendations from the state business coalition, whose leaders include many Republicans, are pragmatic and achievable. They include four principal reform elements:

1. First and foremost, strengthen border security.

2. Create a secure system for all employers nationwide to verify the legal work eligibility for employees.

3. Require immigrants already in the U.S. illegally with no criminal record to register for a federally established form of legal status, learn English, and pay appropriate fines and any taxes owed.

4. Grow the economy by establishing a market-based immigration process that supports a range of workplace needs from seasonal to highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

Opponents of immigration reform complain that proposals of this kind amount to amnesty.  That's simply not true. Illegal immigrants would need complete several steps, including a criminal background check and paying a fine, before they could get in line for citizenship. 

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Increasing border security must be the top priority in any reform plan. President Obama's statement that the border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years doesn't address the increasing threat of the Mexico-based drug cartels. The federal government must commit more resources to combat the cartels.

Border security has to go well beyond building higher fences and putting more boots on the ground. Illegal immigration today is controlled and managed by the well-financed organized criminals based in Mexico. They use sophisticated communications, a network of scouts, rugged vehicles and heavily armed escorts to provide passage for the vast majority of illegal border crossers. The border cannot be effectively secured until law enforcement gains the upper hand against the cartels.

I have focused my efforts as Attorney General on going after them. My primary strategy has been to follow and reduce the flow of money that funds their violent operations. I have helped break up and prosecute several human-smuggling and drug-smuggling rings in Arizona. My Office has seized more than $20 million in cartel assets, and earlier this year, I won a $94 million settlement from Western Union that will provide new resources to law enforcement agencies in all four Southwest border states to go after the cartels and their leaders.

I have also worked to increase coordination and information-sharing with Mexican law enforcement. My Office has taken the lead in training some 400 Mexican prosecutors to help improve that country's low criminal trial conviction rate. Western Union settlement money will also enable us to share data on money transfers and further disrupt the cartels' cash pipeline.

Like most Americans, I believe the federal government has miserably failed to fulfill its responsibility to secure our border and control immigration. I understand the frustration of Arizonans over that failure and the passage of an immigration law meant to compensate for the federal government's inaction.

But that law does not do anything to secure the border or make Arizonans safer. It will not stop the criminal cartels from smuggling more illegal immigrants across the border, and it will impose a multi-million-dollar financial burden on our police departments.

We need comprehensive federal reform along the lines proposed by the state's bipartisan business coalition. We need to increase border security, we need to reform our nation's malfunctioning immigration system, and Congress must take up this challenge now.

A former attorney general of the State of Arizona, Terry Goddard was the Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, and is running for secretary of state in the 2014 election.

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 6 »

Jul 3, 2010, 5:51 pm
-1 +0

Of course it’s AMNESTY, no matter how you choose to spin it.

Get this:

The democrats will NEVER get the race based votes they need to dominate future elections on the basis of ethnicity.

The republicans WILL lose the cheap labor force and consumers they so desperately love to exploit.

Don’t believe me? Just watch.

I’m Warden, the Notorious Mexican Flag Burner.

Jul 3, 2010, 12:54 pm
-1 +0

“No matter how much the moneyed elite want their cheap illegal labor…”

A lot of gall to use the term “moneyed elite” in this case.

Remember the hurried press conference by AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard in April of last year? That’s the one where he paraded out all of his assistants and formally declared that after counting the 2006 RTA Ballots, they had found no evidence of foul play for rigging the elections? A few puny voices on the side of the room opposite the mainstream media asked questions. The first, did you count or examine the POLL TAPES in any way? The answer was no. Second, did you do a precinct by precinct audit against the statements of votes cast? No. We would have had to account for one or two adjustments and we don’t know how to do that. Third, did you perform any forensic checks to verify the authenticity of the ballots? The answer? Don’t be silly.

The poll tapes garnered interest right away from Terry Goddard, because Terry wasn’t going to examine anything until he was informed of the Democratic Party’s plans to look at the poll tapes. Then, like a hawk flying out of the sky after a field mouse, Goddard snatched the ballots from Pima County’s Iron Mountain storage facility. How was the Democratic party informed? Through secondhand chatter from the Democratic Party’s opposing legal team while the ballots were being transferred up to some unknown location in Maricopa County. The recount behind glass would take place one month later.

During this process, the Democratic Party had requested repeatedly that Terry Goddard examine the poll tapes, because they provide a valuable “precinct snapshot”- a perfect auditing function. In addition, they can easily be identified if they are fake or regenerated. During this exchange, a tentative agreement was reached by Assistant Attorney General Robert Conrad and the Democratic Party. Conrad assured the Democrats that they would examine the poll tapes and the Attorney General’s press spokesperson confirmed that poll tapes would be examined.

Only at that brisk press conference last year did the public discover that the Attorney General refused to examine the poll tapes. The reason? Well, Attorney General Terry Goddard was reduced to feigning ignorance about the importance of examining the poll tapes at that very same press conference, so we weren’t given a reason unless you want to believe Goddard’s act about being ignorant.

So Terry Goddard finished his debut with the RTA ballots and passed them back to the Iron Mountain Storage facility in the custody of Treasurer Beth Ford. The poll tapes are included in the ballot boxes.

This stuck the Democratic party with another year of litigation involving ridiculous legal arguments from Pima County and the Treasurers office over costs, process, and, get this, the idea that the poll tapes are “ballots”.  Despite the best efforts of Terry Goddard, Pima County and the legal teams intertwined with growth lobby interests, the Democratic party has inspected the polltapes and examined them.

Now we know why Terry Goddard refused to look at the poll tapes.  Out of 368 precincts, there are 112 polltapes missing!  102 of the yellowsheets are missing.  The corresponding paper work serving a vital auditing function at the precinct level is missing. 

A significant portion of missing poll tapes had corresponding anomalies in the electronic data records.  It’s naive to think that electronic records would be manipulated without some measure to cover tracks by either creating a new paper trail or removing the one that exists.

It took us a whole additional year to discover this thanks to Goddard’s “dog and pony” show.  I wouldn’t trust any portrayal of Goddard combating the moneyed interests.  In fact, I wouldn’t trust him at all.

Jul 3, 2010, 9:04 am
-1 +0

Anyway you look at it it is amnesty. The bottom line is they get to stay so it cannot be looked at any other way. Godderd needs to quit or be removed. People are sick of the presence of these illegal aliens and a swipe with a pen making them legal will not change a thing except bring more anger against these law breakers. No AMNESTY of any kind never

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