LatinaLista — With news today that the annual border governor’s conference has moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico after Gov. Brewer, chair of the XXVIII Border Governors Conference, cancelled the conference due to several Mexican governors refusing to attend because of Arizona’s new immigration law, it would seem that Arizona’s new law has not only put Gov. Jan Brewer on the opposite side – figuratively speaking – from her Mexican contemporaries but now also with her American peer Gov. Richardson.
In a special “pre-release” preview from their upcoming July 30 issue, Americas Quarterly shares with Latina Lista readers an immigration face-off between Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Mexican and U.S. states who are members of the binational Border Governors.
Hard Talk: Immigration
Jan Brewer vs. Bill Richardson
Gov. Jan Brewer
With the federal government unwilling to secure our border, we are left with little choice.
Our neighbor to the south is in a massive battle with well-organized drug cartels. Because of Washington’s failure to secure our southern border, Arizona has become the superhighway for illegal drug and human smuggling activity. In December 2008, the U.S. Justice Department said that Mexican gangs are the “biggest organized crime threat to the United States.” In 2009, Phoenix had 316 kidnapping cases, turning the city into our nation’s kidnapping capital. Almost all of the persons kidnapped were undocumented immigrants or linked to the drug trade.
The same week that I signed the new law, a major drug ring was broken up and Mexican cartel operatives suspected of running 40,000 pounds of marijuana through southern Arizona were indicted.
While drug smuggling is the principal cause of our massive border violence problem, many of the same criminal organizations also smuggle people. Busts of drop houses, where undocumented immigrants are often held for ransom or otherwise severely abused, are not an uncommon occurrence in Arizona neighborhoods.
Today, Arizona has approximately 6,000 prison inmates who are foreign nationals, representing a cost to our state of roughly $150 million per year. Arizona taxpayers are paying for a vast majority of these incarceration expenses because the federal government refuses to pay what it owes. My predecessor as Arizona governor, current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, sent numerous requests to the federal government to pay for these prisoners–only to be given the same answer that she and President Barack Obama are now giving Arizona: they will not pay the bill.
When I signed the legislation, I stated clearly I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona. My administration worked for weeks with legislators to clarify and strengthen SB 1070′s civil rights protections. I issued an executive order to implement proper training and enforcement protocols for our police so that the intent of the bill’s language could not be misconstrued. Although it is already against the law, the new law undeniably prohibits law enforcement officers from considering race, color or national origin in implementing the new statute.
As committed as I am to protecting our state from crime associated with illegal immigration, I am equally committed to holding law enforcement accountable should this statute ever be misused to violate an individual’s rights.
There have been countless distortions, honest omissions, myths, and bad information about Arizona’s new law–many, undoubtedly, spread to create fear or mistrust.
So, here are the facts: first…
Finish reading Jan Brewer vs. Bill Richardson