Arizona fights back

Arizona’s new immigration law is a sham, and that’s just fine by Republicans

Greetings from Arizona, where we have a brand new immigration law. It’s been called many things, a few of them even printable. But here’s what I call that law: a sham.

It’s a sham because the Republicans who drafted the bill, SB1070, know it does nothing to protect Arizona. They know it doesn’t help secure the border. And they know it makes law enforcement’s job even harder. Local police who are busy solving crimes and catching criminals will now have to enforce federal immigration laws. But Republicans passed the bill anyway – it’s an election year, after all — and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law on Friday.

Brewer says she did “the right thing” for Arizona. I say she did it for the right-wing in Arizona. After all, the governor is locked in a race to the right with a handful of GOP primary challengers.

Arizona is a border state — it’s no secret we have a serious crime problem at our border. Over the decades, the federal government has neither secured the border nor passed comprehensive immigration reform to protect our families and our economy.

But let’s be clear: SB1070 is a sham. The real public-safety threats to Arizona are border violence, drug cartels and human smuggling. This new law does nothing – I repeat – nothing to secure our border, make us safer, or put a dent in the cartels’ operations. Instead, it diverts law enforcement’s attention from more serious crimes. It forces police to defend frivolous lawsuits. It creates fear among Hispanic communities. And it puts a black mark on Arizona nationally at a time when our state needs to attract businesses and tourism.

Despite all their chest-thumping about being tough on immigration, the Republicans could take a lesson from a Democrat – Attorney General Terry Goddard – who takes on the drug and human smuggling rings every day in his job. His work keeps Arizona safer, unlike the empty GOP grandstanding. Our state party is working hard to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket in November, starting with Terry Goddard at the top. He called on Brewer to veto SB1070, but she caved in to the right wing.

We love Arizona, and we’re angry about what’s happening here. We know people across the country are angry too. So what happens after the protesters and the TV trucks go home? We register voters. We boost community outreach. We raise money. We spread our message in every way, across every form of media. In other words, we use all of our resources to elect strong, common-sense Democrats. It’s the only way to get Arizona back on track. If you’re angry too, we invite you to join us.

Unless we win this fight, Arizona is stuck with this sham of a law – and sham of leadership.