What do you think Arizona's immigration law reflects years of anger?

by admin on November 4, 2010

PHOENIX — As the days tick down until the Arizona immigration law takes effect, the state stands as a monument to the anger over illegal immigration that is present in so many places.

The anger has been simmering for years, and erupted into a full-blown fury with the murder of a prominent rancher on the border earlier this year. The killing became a powerful rallying cry for immigration reform and the sweeping new law set to take effect Thursday, barring any last-minute legal action.

But it does not tell the whole story about how Arizona got to this point.

Turn on the evening news in Arizona and some report reflecting the state’s battle with illegal immigration will likely flash across the screen.

A drop house crammed with illegal border-crossers smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Traffic patrols and workplace raids that net the arrest of dozens of illegal immigrants, often in heavily Hispanic communities. Politicians speaking venomously about border violence and the leech of immigration costs on the state treasury.

Along the streets, Arizonans see day laborers near Wal-Mart and Home Depot parking lots, waiting for work. In some Phoenix-area neighborhoods, Spanish is so predominant both in spoken word and signage that residents complain they feel like they’re in a foreign country.

Then rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down in March while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe — but have never produced substantive proof — that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame.

Almost immediately Krentz came to symbolize what’s at stake with illegal immigration. Politicians quickly connected the dots, but everyday folks also spoke with anger and fear about the rancher’s death.

"You can’t ignore the damage and the costs to the taxpayers and the disrespect that comes with it and those who think they have a right to break our laws," says Russell Pearce, the fiery state senator who wrote Arizona’s new immigration law.

Pearce, in fact, is the godfather of anti-illegal immigration sentiment in Arizona and author of many of the tough laws.

He regularly depicts illegal immigration as an "invasion." He can tick off the names of police officers killed or wounded by criminals in the country illegally.

One of those names is that of his son, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Pearce, who survived a gunshot wound to the abdomen from an illegal immigrant in 2004 while serving a search warrant in a homicide case.

That might explain Pearce’s indefatigable effort against those entering the country illegally, but he says he held tough views before his son was shot. He insists that his frustration centers more broadly on the crime that immigrant smugglers bring into the country and the financial stress that illegal border-crossers put on communities.

Between 40 percent and 50 percent of all immigrant arrests each year on the U.S.-Mexico border are made in Arizona, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

And the annual costs? About 0 million for educating illegal immigrants at K-12 schools, more than 0 million for jailing illegal immigrants convicted of state crimes and as much as million that hospitals have to eat for treating illegal border-crossers, according to figures provided by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Gov. Jan Brewer’s office and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

At Copper Queen Community Hospital, 4 miles north of the border in Bisbee, the emergency room sees one or two illegal immigrants every shift. Dr. Daniel Roe, the emergency-room medical director, says many come in with broken bones from jumping the 15-foot-tall border fence, others suffer from walking for days in the desert with little to no water, and others have been involved in car accidents.

"It’s very much part of our normal flow," he says. "But it demands resources. So it affects the operating budget."


Yakuza November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

If the federal government had been enforcing the laws for years as they should have SB1070 would not be needed.in Arizona.

Trickish_Knave November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

Yes. Says so in the second paragraph.

coldfuse November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

The anger is over the federal government’s refusal to do its job.

creed November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

I just think they are tired of both dems and republicans saying they are going to stop illegal immigaration and they never do it. It is the single biggest security breach in our country and it is the most easily fixed. just finish the damn fence. hell build one behind that if neccessary and use the big brother technology used on regular american citizens to patrol the damn thing

Buddy November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

in 4 days the ones who decided to gamble by staying here will be hunted down ,exposed,detained ,jailed, and finally deported.its been widely acclaimed by the majority of Arizonians , when they are deported their children be stapled to them

TedEx November 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

It simply reinforces the statement, " the more you expect from government the more disappointed you will be."

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