Immigration

Arizona or San Francisco: Which Path on Immigration?

I am Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070 which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Fear mongering and misinformation is the tool of the left against this common-sense legislation. 

Paul Kantner of the 1960s rock band Jefferson Airplane once remarked, “San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.” When I first heard that San Francisco was planning to boycott Arizona over SB 1070, this description seemed apt. 

However, when the neighboring Oakland City Council voted 7-0 to boycott Arizona last week, and President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Derrell Steinberg announced a campaign in the legislature to also boycott the state, it became clear that San Francisco is merely ahead of the California crazy curve.

Why did I propose SB 1070? I saw the enormous fiscal and social costs that illegal immigration was imposing on my state. I saw Americans out of work, hospitals and schools overflowing, and budgets strained. Most disturbingly, I saw my fellow citizens victimized by illegal-alien criminals.

The murder of Robert Krentz—whose family had been ranching in Arizona since 1907—by illegal-alien drug dealers was the final straw for many Arizonans. But there are dozens of other citizens of our state who have been murdered by illegal aliens. Currently 95 illegal aliens are in Maricopa County jail for murder. When do we stand up for Americans and the rule of law? If not now, when? We are a nation of laws, a constitutional republic.

Most of the hysterical critics of the bill do not even know what is in it. SB 1070 simply codifies federal law into state law and removes excuses and concerns about states’ inherent authority to enforce these laws and removes all illegal “sanctuary” policies.
The law does not allow police to stop suspected illegal aliens unless they have already come across them through normal “lawful conduct” such as a traffic stop, and explicitly prohibits racial profiling. Illegal is not a race, it is a crime.

Aside from the unfounded accusation of racial profiling, the chief complaint about the bill is that it infringes on federal jurisdiction by enforcing laws. Arizona did not make illegal, illegal. It is a crime to enter or remain in the U.S. in violation of federal law. States have had inherent authority to enforce immigration laws when the federal government has failed or refused to do so.

For all their newfound respect for the authority of federal immigration law, the open-borders advocates who oppose SB 1070 have no problems with “sanctuary cities” across the country that explicitly obstruct federal immigration authorities to protect illegal aliens, even though are illegal under federal law (8 USC 1644 & 1373.)

In 2008, San Francisco began a campaign to encourage illegal aliens to take advantage of the city’s public services. Mayor Gavin Newsom stated, “We have worked with the Board of Supervisors, Department of Public Health, labor and immigrant rights groups to create a city government-wide public awareness campaign so that immigrants know the city won’t target them for using city services.”

The results were tragic. A few months after the campaign, Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien and member of the MS-13 gang, murdered San Francisco resident Tony Bologna and his two sons who he mistook for rival gang members. Ramos had a lengthy criminal record including a felony assault on a pregnant woman. He was arrested on gang and weapons charges and promptly released just three months before the murder. Not once did San Francisco report him to immigration authorities.

One month after the murder of Bologna, illegal alien Alexander Izaguirre stole Amanda Keifer’s purse and then intentionally ran her over with an SUV, laughing as she hit the pavement and fractured her skull. Four months earlier, Alexander Izaguirre had been arrested for felony dealing of crack cocaine. Not only did San Francisco refuse to turn him over to immigration authorities, they expunged his record and helped get him a job, which is criminal in and of itself.

Keifer asked the obvious question, “If they’ve committed crimes and they’re not citizens, then why are they here? Why haven’t they been deported?”

The answer is that politicians like Gavin Newsom and Phoenix Mayor Gordon put the interests of illegal aliens before the safety of American citizens.

Our law is already working. One can just scan the newspapers and see dozens of headlines like “Illegal Immigrants Leaving Arizona Over New Law: Tough, Controversial New Legislation Scares Many in Underground Workforce Out of State.”

In contrast, American citizens are leaving California. For the last four years, more Americans have left the state than have moved in.

In criticizing the SB 1070, Barack Obama said, “Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others.” There is nothing irresponsible about enforcing our law, but President Obama is right in that this is only necessary because the federal government does not do its job.

But the solution is not “comprehensive-immigration reform,” a euphemism for amnesty. This will only encourage more illegal immigration. And making illegal aliens legal does nothing to change the social and fiscal costs they impose on Arizona or the nation as a whole. The Heritage Foundation’s research puts the cost of amnesty at over $2.5 trillion dollars.

The federal government simply needs to enforce its immigration laws by cracking down on employers of illegal aliens, securing our borders, and deporting illegal-alien criminals.

This legislation in Arizona will be a model for states across the nation and the federal government, it will end illegal immigration to America, but President Obama is looking towards San Francisco instead.

Sign Up