Let's be clear: Immigration law is not anti-Mexican - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Let's be clear: Immigration law is not anti-Mexican

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Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 5:00 am | Updated: 11:08 am, Mon Jul 19, 2010.

It’s obvious that the public relations portion of SB 1070 has gotten away from Arizona. Though Arizona feels justified in its new immigration law, the response from the rest of the nation has been hostile at best.

Cities and organizations are calling for boycotts, which only hurt fellow Americans.

The problem with 1070 is that it makes Arizonans appear to be anti-Mexican. America is left with the impression that 1070 is specifically designed to get rid of all Mexicans, legal or illegal, from our great state. The truth of the matter is that 1070 is far from being anti-Mexican. The new law clearly mirrors federal law pertaining to illegal immigrants from any nation.

Unfortunately, those in the media and the federal government have done a meager job in representing Arizona’s position on illegal immigration. A perfect example was seen on CBS’ Sunday news show “Face the Nation” hosted by Bob Schieffer. In an interview with Attorney General Eric Holder, Schieffer indicated that Arizonans could be stopped because of their race. This is flatly untrue. Under 1070, police can only ask a person’s immigration status after being involved in another police matter. This constant barrage of misinformation is the cause for the hysteria.

However, the public relations dilemma for Arizona lies in the fact that the focus of the real problem has been diverted. In truth, Arizonans are more concerned about securing the border and building a wall than they are about enforcing immigration laws.

I, for one, would consider one “last” amnesty bill if we were guaranteed that the border would be secured and a wall erected. I think many Arizonans understand the unfeasibility of sending every illegal immigrant back to their place of origin. The problem with amnesty, as evidenced by the last three amnesty bills, is that the influx of illegals will not cease. We will be forced to consider an amnesty bill every 10 years.

If I were governor of Arizona, I would have made 1070 about securing the border. The objective of 1070 would have been about building the wall. Now, I realize that many immediately object to a wall separating Arizona and Mexico. Many claim that it simply will not work. In fact, it may not, but we have exhausted almost every option to no avail. Let’s give it a shot.

The major obstacle deals with the cost of building the wall and the fact that the federal government appears to have no interest in assisting. That means Arizona must do it.

I would support a 5 percent sales tax hike to pay for it. Arizona has already shown that it supports sales tax hikes if for a good cause. Securing the border is a great cause.

I understand a tax hike, especially during the current economic climate, is not the popular thing to do. However, securing the border has proven popular and must be done. Had we made 1070 about securing the border, perhaps Arizona wouldn’t be involved in this public relations nightmare.

The federal government has painted Arizona into a corner. If it won’t build the wall or enforce illegal immigration, then we must.

And to think, this concept came from a very dear friend of mine who happens to be Hispanic.

Michael Weinstein is co-host of the “The Mike & Winey Show” heard at 7 a.m. Saturdays on KKNT (960 AM) or on the web at www.kknt960.com

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