Arizona legislators determined to keep Arizona as the center of anti-immigrant effortsby Hugh Holub on Jan. 29, 2011, under border issues, politics
You’d think that with the severe budget crisis facing the state of Arizona that our state legislature would not want to continue being the poster child of anti-immigrant legislation and all the economic problems that has created from lost tourism to giant legal bills fighting the feds.
You’d be wrong.
Arizona is headed to remaining the modern version of Mississippi from the 1960′s. drawing massive amounts of negative attention to the state in what are largely futile efforts to deal with illegal immigration issues.
Note in thie following Arizona Republic article about the new effort to strip children born from illegal immgrtant parents of their state citizenship a mention of Dan Bell, a Santa Cruz County rancher, who is speaking on behalf of rancher efforts to secure our border.
The ranchers have got it right….the efforts need to be focused on securing the border at the border. Everything else is political noise with no benefit.
by Alia Beard Rau on Jan. 28, 2011, under Arizona Republic News
Arizona is returning to the international spotlight with Thursday’s introduction of legislation that would strip illegal immigrants’ U.S.-born children of their citizenship and create a two-tiered, birth-certificate process.
The intent is to attract a legal challenge that could eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court reconsidering whether the 14th Amendment truly grants citizenship to such children.
The bills have the benefit of an even more conservative Republican Legislature than Senate Bill 1070 enjoyed last year as well as public support for tough immigration measures. But the bills’ passage isn’t a sure bet.
Some lawmakers say the state needs to focus on the economy or securing the border instead of the distraction of another immigration controversy.
The 14th Amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The proposed legislation does two things:
-House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 1309 would define children as citizens of Arizona and the U.S. if at least one of their parents was either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent U.S. resident and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
-House Bill 2562 and Senate Bill 1308 would seek permission from Congress to set up a system so states can create separate birth certificates for children who meet the new definition of a citizen and those who do not.
Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, and Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, are the primary sponsors. Twenty-seven other Republican lawmakers have signed on in support.
“The court needs to rule on this so we can figure out how to treat these kids,” Gould said.
A revived effort
Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who along with Kavanagh led the effort to pass SB 1070, has worked on this issue for years. Previous efforts garnered little notice, but the passage of the nation’s toughest immigration law last year attracted enormous attention. When Pearce decided to revive the birthright-citizenship issue this year, lawmakers from more than a dozen states agreed to join the effort and introduce identical bills.
In November Arizona voters elected an even more conservative group of state lawmakers, and Pearce, now Senate president, has more power to guide and protect the bills. However, their success isn’t guaranteed.
Some lawmakers voiced concerns, before the legislative session began, about courting more immigration controversy when the state should focus on economic recovery.
Sen. John McComish, R-Phoenix, said Thursday that he is not sure how he’ll vote.
“I’m concerned with the energy and resources it will take if we go forward on this,” McComish said. “It is time for another state to step forward.”
Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature also is not a guarantee, even though many say her signing of SB 1070 and a tough immigration stance won her the election. Brewer also has made the budget a priority this year.
Brewer, as a matter of policy, doesn’t comment on specific bills that have not yet made it to her desk. Her office said Thursday that she will be following the debate on the citizenship issue closely.
“It’s an important issue that should be studied by the Legislature,” said Matthew Benson, the governor’s spokesman.
A group of Arizona ranchers held a news conference Thursday to unveil a plan for securing the border.
Rancher Dan Bell said citizenship bills won’t help him.
“We need resources at the border,” he said.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, who supports ranchers’ efforts, said the Legislature needs to address problems at the border first. She said she did not co-sponsor the birthright-citizenship bills.
“Border security is Number 1,” she said. “That will help slow down so many of the other problems we have.”
Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said he thinks the Legislature can address several prongs of the immigration problem at once.
“You can walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said. “There are so many different parts that factor into this problem.”
He said he will support the bills and introduce a bill of his own to collect donations to help build a wall along the Mexican border.
Last year, SB 1070 slid through most of the legislative process without much public notice. It wasn’t until a few days before the governor signed it into law that opponents began organizing marches and protests.
Since then, people have formed coalitions, hired lawyers and figured out how to quickly spread information about movement on immigration issues.
On Thursday, the protests and news conferences began hours before the bills were introduced.
Attorney Steve Montoya, who was involved with lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070, called the bill a “complete waste of time.”
“When we’re having to close schools because we’re bankrupt, these jokers are pushing laws that will only push the state further into debt,” he said.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, compared the idea of two birth certificates to the days of “separate but equal.”
“This takes us back to the time when we had separate drinking fountains . . . swimming pools . . . public education, one for Black and one for White,” he said.
Rep. Albert Hale, D-Window Rock, a Navajo, said that under these bills, he would be considered an “anchor baby” because Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924.
“My mother, born in 1919, was not a citizen,” he said. “Am I to be deported? And if I am, where are you going to deport me to?”
He warned that passing these bills would create a crisis of children “who are stateless and without a country.”
“This will create a class of people who are not welcome in the country where they are born,” he said. “This is not the Arizona I know. This is not the Arizona I want.”
Reporter Ginger Rough contributed to this article.
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