By Maria Fotopoulos
May 7, 2010
From President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to legislators such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and members of the L.A. City Council, political opportunists are lining up against American citizens. It’s beginning to look like a conspiracy! They are using the Arizona law just signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to further polarize the illegal immigration debate and cry for “reform,” that is, amnesty.
The Arizona law was immediately attacked by open-borders activists such as Grijalva, who went so far as to advocate a boycott of his own state in which he was elected to serve American citizens. Here in California the word “boycott” also is being bandied about, along with threats to tear up government contracts with Arizona. Comedian George Rodriguez is even getting into the theater act, asking for all people with the last name of Rodriguez not to go to Arizona. “That’s a few million people,” he joked. All this is getting media coverage, while the fact that 70 percent of Americans want our immigration laws enforced is all but ignored. How are so many politicians – and the stray comedian – so out of touch?
For decades, the federal government has failed to enforce existing immigration laws to the point that we now have an estimated 12 to 30 million people living in the United States illegally. Those numbers are staggering in their implications. No other country tolerates such abuse of its borders and disrespect of its own citizenry. Arizona finally said “enough” when it passed the legislation that will allow law enforcement officers to ask for proof of residency if individuals are suspected of being in the country illegally. This falls in line with Rasmussen Reports that found 73 percent of voters believe law enforcement officers should check immigration status during traffic stops. As well, the law will make it illegal for people to knowingly transport illegal aliens and will overturn the sanctuary policies of local governments and agencies.
Arizona has been under attack in recent years on several fronts – an unchecked increasing illegal population and crime. From 2000 to 2008, the number of illegal aliens in Arizona skyrocketed by 70 percent. The state, with a population of 6.6 million, has an estimated illegal alien population of 500,000 and a prison population that includes nearly 6,000 Mexican nationals (14 percent of the inmate population).
Then last year, Phoenix was given the dubious distinction of being the kidnap-for-ransom capital, with 370 reported kidnappings, second only to Mexico City. As a major thoroughfare for drug and human trafficking, Arizona – and Phoenix – has become a war ground for drug cartel battles. Most often the kidnappers are Mexican criminals sometimes helped by local street gangs in Phoenix, according to police.
Beyond the sheer numbers and the crime, Arizona, like other states with large numbers of illegal aliens, is dealing with the associated costs of illegal immigration. For example, in emergency rooms and public schools one in seven children is a direct or indirect product of illegal immigration.
Arizona is trying to take on what the federal government has failed to do for years – carry out its responsibilities to American citizens. Arizona is right, and the courage it is showing should motivate other states in the union. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
Maria Fotopoulos is a Senior Writing Fellow for the Santa Barbara-based organization, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS | capsweb.org), where she writes about the population-sustainability connection. Reach her at [email protected], on Twitter at TurboDog50 and Facebook at Maria K. Fotopoulos.