Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mud Slings As Clock Ticks For Arizona Governor Signing Anti-Immigrant Law

 This is disgusting. Isn't there a grown-up in the house?

As the five-day time clock ticks down to zero for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to sign or veto the state Legislature's anti-illegal immigrant law, the bill's author and the cardinal of the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Diocese are engaging in a mud-slinging contest.

On Monday. Cardinal Roger Mahoney described the bill in terms of "Nazi" and "Communist," saying it was "the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law," and "totally false reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources."

On Wednesday, Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce who crafted the bill requiring immigrants to carry proof of legal status, called Cardinal Mahoney  "a guy who's been protecting child molesters and predators all of his life."

"He's the last guy that ought to be speaking out," Pearce said on the Michael Smerconish program, a nationally syndicated radio talk show. "This guy has a history of protecting and moving predators around in order to avoid detection by the law. He has no room to talk."

And, that, according to the Los Angeles Times led to this rebuttal by Tod M. Tamberg, the cardinal's spokesman.

"Mudslinging and fearmongering are the essence of Sen. Pearce's remarks. He desperately wants to change the subject, throwing up a wall of inaccurate statements about Cardinal Mahony because he has no good answer to the cardinal's challenge that this is a draconian and unjust law."

The law would allow police without probable cause to ask legal status of Hispanics suspected to be in the country illegally as well as barring people from soliciting work or hiring workers without documentation, a provision aimed at the day labor trade.

On the talk show, Pearce said "We love and admire immigrants who come here to assimilate to be Americans. It his has nothing to do with immigration. It has to do with those who enter our country illegally."

The Republican senator said the cardinal was ignoring the plight of countless crime victims of illegal immigrants, including police officers who have been killed and teenage girls who have been kidnapped and raped. In a high-profile recent case, authorities suspect an illegal immigrant shot and killed Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was found dead on his property.

Meanwhile, Latino advocacy groups and labor leaders are venting their wrath at President Obama for failing to fulfill campaign promises of immigration reform and accusing the president of continuing Bush administration policies of deporting hardworking Mexican laborers rather than criminals.

In at least one case involving Ulises Martinez-Silver and Saturnina Martinez of Las Vegas who were brought to the United States by their families as infants, the Department of Homeland Security said that it would indefinitely suspend action against them.

Their case was brought to the 9th Circuit Court last year by the Obama administration that disgusted the three-judge panel. One judge said the government's case was "horrific" against the couple, he a carpenter and she a clerk, with no criminal records and having U.S. born children ages 8 and 12.

Another judge labeled it the "most senseless result possible." A third complained of "an extraordinarily bad use of government resources."

"These people have worked hard. They have paid their taxes," Judge William Fletcher said. "Why don't you go after the bad guys?"

The Times provided the following rebuttals and immigration perspectives.

John T. Morton, the former Justice Department prosecutor who runs the Homeland Security Department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, disputed the criticism brought by the advocacy groups. His agency has prioritized deporting criminals, he said, noting that removals of such immigrants were slated to increase 40% this year.

Morton expressed frustration over what he considers exaggerated and unfair charges from immigrant rights activists. The agency frequently allows immigrants to remain even when the law says they should be removed, he said. "We exercise discretion all of the time," Morton said.


As a presidential candidate, Obama spelled out his immigration policy in a June 2008 speech at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization, saying: "When communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel – when all that is happening, the system just isn't working, and we need to change it."


An analysis by the nonpartisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that the proportion of criminal immigrants in detention rose from 27% in 2009 to 43% in 2010. However, that statistic reflects only a "relatively small number" of people guilty of serious offenses like armed robbery, drug smuggling and human trafficking, the report said. Most are guilty of minor offenses such as traffic violations or disorderly conduct. Immigration violations such as illegal entry into the United States are also included.

Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer

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