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May 7, 2010

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Joe Charlebois

If the nation’s capital – Washington, D.C. – was subject to over 1,000 kidnappings over the last three years (tied to illegal immigration), do you think there would be any debate on the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 2070 which strictly enforces illegal immigration?


The City of Phoenix, AZ, has put up with just that in the last three years with many of those same residents tortured and killed! Were you aware of that?


Every year the United States allows for legal immigration at levels that far exceed any other country in the world. We are an accepting country, as our diversity proves. Our country has been built on waves and waves of foreigners coming to our shores looking for a more prosperous life, escaping persecution, fleeing political oppression; in short they were searching for freedom and found it.


Over the past 24 years since the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986 was signed into law by Ronald Reagan, the number of illegal immigrants has skyrocketed. Amnesty was provided to those who were illegal immigrants at the time, with what was supposed to be an increase in enforcement on businesses that hired future illegal immigrants. Unfortunately this gave the green light for millions of others to follow.


According to the Department of Homeland Security, the official estimate of the “unauthorized immigrant population” is over 10 million (January 2009). Others have estimated that the true number may be closer to 20 million.


The federal government has vacillated in its enforcement procedures ever since the Simpson-Mazzoli Act was passed. The bill was to make the penalties for hiring illegal immigrants so punitive that the incentive to hire “cheap” labor would disappear, and those here illegally would then be forced to return to their native country to secure an income.


When enforcement failed, the concern over hefty fines dissipated and the flow of illegal immigrants resumed once again, bringing with it hard workers, welfare scammers and a buoyant drug trade.


Since the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 – signed into law by President Bill Clinton – we have a federal law that allows for and approves of state, county and local law enforcement to aid in matters of immigration through Section 287(g). Agencies that aid in the 287(g) program must be trained and supervised by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Strict guidelines must be followed and those that have not been trained may not participate in the program. The program essentially brings ICE in when someone already arrested proves to be in the country illegally.


In Arizona, where the wave of illegal immigrants is at its worst, they decided to pass a law to enforce federal law. To those who haven’t read the bill, the law may seem draconian, even an implementation of a police state, but to others – Arizona citizens – it’s survival.


We don’t live in Phoenix. We don’t know what those in the southwest battle on a daily basis. Law enforcement officials there deal with much greater issues than we could imagine.


Those of us who live in the shadow of the nation’s capital are sheltered to say the least. The elite live here. Six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the United States surround the Capital Beltway.


The Washington City Council, lead by Michael Brown, voted to divest any financial ties to Arizona and boycott any facilities in the state for conferences or the like. The fact that the D.C. City Council wants to boycott Arizona is laughable. This is not apartheid. This is a state finally standing up and saying “enough is enough.”


Until we treat this as a serious issue, let Arizona act to protect its citizens.


As the old saying goes “walk a mile in my shoes.”


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