The War on Senator Pearce
Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (R) is not yet a household name. Most Americans are unaware that he is one of the leaders fighting to have states enforce the rule of law regarding illegal immigrants. He has been at the forefront of this issue for the last twenty-five years but currently is facing a recall battle. American Thinker interviewed Senator Pearce and other political figures about the recall and illegal immigration.
He is a fifth-generation Arizonian shot in the line of duty while serving as a sheriff's deputy, has authored bills that provide tax relief, and has been honored for his contributions to public education. However, his new prominence comes from the work done in fighting illegal immigration. Among illegal immigration bills authored in Arizona: Proposition 200, requiring proof of citizenship to vote and a legal US presence to obtain public benefits; Prop 100 that prevents illegals committing serious crimes to get released on bond; Prop 102 that will not allow illegals to receive punitive damages; Prop 103 that makes English the official language of Arizona; the Fair and Legal Employment Act, allowing the state of Arizona to impose sanctions on those employers who hire illegal aliens; and SB 1070 signed into law in April, 2010. All of these bills were passed overwhelmingly by over 70% of the vote with a support of over 60% of the Latino vote.
Four of the ten elements of 1070 are being enjoined in the appellate court including the provision that requires law enforcement to check a person's immigration status after committing a violation of the law -- even though the bill stipulates "a person is presumed to be lawfully present if the person provides a valid Arizona drivers license or identification license or a valid federal or state issued identification."
Pearce talked about why he authored the illegal immigration bills, commenting to American Thinker that "we are a nation of laws. I do not want to sit back and watch the Constitution be destroyed. If the politicians say they are going to secure the border and enforce the laws they ought to. [SB] 1070 stands up to the federal government and allows states to enforce federal laws as well as an obligation to enforce the borders. The states have an inherent authority. It's our citizens' constitutional rights and 1070 restored those rights."
The Obama administration in typical hypocritical fashion is suing Arizona for trying to enforce federal law; yet, last week they announced that local communities and local law enforcement, not Washington, are best-suited to deal with violent extremism. Too bad they don't see that is exactly what Senator Pearce and Arizona are doing with illegal immigration. Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) emphasized, "In San Diego local law enforcement is involved in determining illegal immigrants. Look at the inconsistencies of this administration. Senator Pearce wrote 1070 because those in Arizona are fed up with the lack of federal action. Local law enforcement is the backbone of all law enforcement. It is absurd to say they should not be involved."
In an attempt to harass and intimidate legislators who take an anti-illegal immigration position, Senator Pearce is being recalled. Citizens for Better Arizona's stated reasons for recalling Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce are "his failure to focus on issues and concerns that affect all Arizonans. Mesa and Arizona need a leader who will pass laws to create jobs, protect public education, and ensure access to health care for our children and those most in need."
Sen. Pearce has the support of many state Republicans, including legislators, senators, the Arizona Latino Republican Association (ALRA), Arizona Attorney General Horne, and Governor Jan Brewer. Governor Brewer stated, "I've known Senator Pearce for more than two decades, and he has been one of Arizona's leading voices on key issues like illegal immigration and fiscal responsibility. He deserves to fulfill the remainder of his term." State Legislator John Kavanagh (R-AZ) believes that the senator, in protecting Arizona against illegal immigrants, was targeted because "he is the leader so he is paying the price. He stepped up to the plate and now his enemies see this as payback. State senators only serve two-year terms which means he was only a year away from a regular election."
Is Senator Pearce racist against Latinos, or has the left once again used character assassination in an attempt to discredit a political foe? Arizona State Senator Gail Griffin (R) believes that this it is not a race issue and is disgusted that "we even have to talk about it. If people don't like his issues they could vote him out. People need to come in the front door not go in through the back door."
Georgia legislator Matt Ramsey (R) sees the senator as a precursor for Georgia's illegal immigration bill. He feels that the authors of the state bills throughout America look on this only as "an economic and legal issue. The people on the left are using race and profiling to blur the issue that couldn't be clearer: you are either in this country legally or you are not. It's the rule of law and these desperate arguments are done to obscure the fact that they are in the minority."
Haydee Dawson, a legal immigrant, the treasurer of ALRA, and the conservative host of Radio ALRA, supports 1070, and does not see it as racist. No one can ever tell her a date, place, and a name of any law enforcement officer that profiled Latinos. She is very outspoken in her support of the senator, who "is the sweetest man possible. This is someone who wants to serve his state and enforce the rule of law. It is not true that he is nasty and hates everybody who is brown skinned. They have demonized this man."
Two of the senator's grandchildren are Hispanic, as well as his ex-daughter-in-law with whom he is still very close. He commented to American Thinker that "illegal is not a race; it is a crime. The laws should be enforced without apology. I don't care what the race, sex, creed, religion [...] illegal is illegal. Think about it: those most injured when the laws are not enforced are the minority communities. They are the very people I am helping by enforcing these laws. I am the guy standing up for them."
According to all interviewed, Russell Pearce is not a racist but believes the legislation is needed to enforce our laws, help secure the border, go after illegal employers, stop the free benefit handouts, and take the handcuffs off law enforcement. Georgia Legislator Ramsey wants to figure out a way to get out to Arizona and knock on some doors to help Pearce. Senator Pearce was the pioneer to make sure federal immigration laws are not ignored, and Americans should step up and support him, against the detriment and peril of the country.