Talk of the Town: SB 1070 simply says 'illegal' is illegal
I am the author of Senate Bill 1070, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.
Maybe liberals ought to read the Constitution, case law or even just the bill itself before citing incorrect information. Fear-mongering and misinformation are the opponents' only tool against this common sense legislation.
"Illegal" is not a race, it is a crime. SB1070 simply codifies federal law into state law, removes excuses and concerns about states' inherent authority to enforce these laws and removes all illegal "sanctuary" policies.
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.
Arizona did not make illegal, illegal. Illegal was already 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 and have failed or refused to do so. Sanctuary policies are illegal under federal law (8 USC 1644 & 1373) yet we have them all over the United States.
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 the SB1070 legislation that I introduced, this description seemed fitting.
However, when neighboring Oakland's city council voted 7-0 to boycott Arizona last Tuesday, and President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Derrell Steinberg announced a campaign in the legislature to boycott us, it became clear that San Francisco is merely ahead of the California crazy curve.
Why did I propose SB1070? 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.
Illegal aliens have murdered dozens of other citizens of our state. Currently, 95 illegal aliens are in Maricopa County jail on murder charges.
Most of the hysterical critics of the bill do not even know what is in it. All SB1070 does is allow Arizona law enforcement officials to detain illegal aliens under state law. 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.
Aside from the unfounded accusation of racial profiling, the chief complaint about the bill is that it infringes on federal jurisdiction by enforcing laws. However, a long legal precedent going back to 1976 allows states to enact legislation to discourage illegal immigration so long as it does not conflict with federal law. We specifically designed SB1070 to mirror federal immigration law to avoid such a conflict.
For all their newfound respect for the authority of federal immigration law, the open borders advocates who oppose SB1070 have no problems with "sanctuary cities" such as San Francisco that explicitly obstruct federal immigration authorities to protect illegal aliens. 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 whom he mistook for rival gang members. Ramos had a lengthy criminal record including a felony assault on a pregnant woman. Police arrested him on gang and weapons charges and promptly released him just three months before the murder. Not once did San Francisco report him to immigration authorities.
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 past four years, more Americans have left the state than have moved in.
In criticizing the SB1070, President 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.
The solution is not "comprehensive immigration reform," a euphemism for amnesty. This will only encourage more illegal immigration. Making illegal aliens legal does nothing to change the social and fiscal costs they impose on Arizona or the nation as a whole. In fact, the Heritage Foundation's research puts the cost of amnesty at more than $2.5 trillion.
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. Attrition by enforcement.
If states understand states' rights and our Constitutional duty and responsibility to our citizens this legislation in Arizona will be a model for states across the nation and the federal government and it will end illegal immigration to America, but President Obama is looking toward San Francisco instead.
Russell Pearce is a member of the Arizona State Senate representing Legislative District 18 and author of SB1070.