Protect Arizona Now
by Matt Haver
21 March 2004
of the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act have had enough of Governor
Napolitano's do-nothing approach on illegal immigration.
While illegal immigration
has exploded onto the forefront of American politics in recent days due to
President Bush’s proposed guest worker amnesty program, this issue has been
a hot topic here in the States for years on end with no foreseeable end in
sight. And while illegal immigration is a national epidemic, the situation in our Southwestern states deserves a closer look, as the conditions there seem to worsen on a daily basis.
and Southwestern states such as California and Arizona have begun complaining,
as of late, that the flood of illegal immigrants pouring daily through the
sieve that is the U.S./Mexican border, are taking advantage of state
social programs and social services by the thousands and are running the
states' coffers dry. Hospital visits, healthcare, and welfare programs, for
example, are readily available to illegal immigrants in California due to
the striking down of Proposition 187 (as unconstitutional) despite its passage
by a majority of California taxpayers.
the situation has grown much more threatening than a simple diminution of
public funds -- which is happening as an unbelievable rate. In Arizona the
application process to apply for social services and financial assistance
doesn’t require any proof of citizenship to qualify, granting illegal immigrants
governmental handouts while they pay no income tax to support the system
they are taking full advantage of while living here illegally.
is also the problem of rampant voter fraud. Illegal aliens are voting in
elections illegally -- up to 13,000 in the last year alone. By federal law
only U.S. citizens are eligible to vote, but when the citizens of Arizona
asked Governor Napolitano to sign into law the Voter Identification Bill
(which would require voters and prospective voters to show legal picture
I.D. in order to cast a ballot) last spring, she refused, stating the bill
would “discourage poor people from voting.” Going so far as to call
the bill illegal, Napolitano apparently doesn't think poor people have the
brains or means of acquiring the legal identification required for such daily
interactions as cashing a check or renting a video.
years of facing voter fraud, with Arizona’s Medicaid budget exploding
from $200 million in 2001 to $1.2 billion in 2003, hospitals going out of
business, classrooms being overburdened, and crime on the rise, the good
people of Arizona finally said enough.
PAN -- Protect Arizona Now -- was born, with its newly formed Initiative
Petition #I-03-2004, which Arizona taxpayers believe will go a long way,
not in preventing illegal immigration (a responsibility held by the federal
government), but toward upholding the integrity of the electoral process
in Arizona and reducing the millions spent on illegal aliens who pay no income
tax and give no money back to the state.
I-03-2004 stands on three principles:
(1) Requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote;
(2) requiring proof of identity when voting; and
(3) requiring proof of eligibility for non-federally mandated public benefits.
Proponents of the initiative seem to have lost all faith in Arizona Governor Napolitano; their official web-site states,
12 of the Arizona Constitution, which states: ‘There shall be enacted registration
and other laws to secure the purity of elections and guard against abuses
of the elective franchise.’ Since Governor Napolitano has shown her intention
to veto any legislation that fulfills this portion of the Arizona Constitution,
the citizens of this state can and will have our constitution enforced. This
is a state matter, covered by the Arizona Constitution, not a federal matter.
proponents are not calling for an end to illegal immigration, but to the
voting fraud and social spending on illegals that is bankrupting their state
and compromising the integrity of its voting system. The initiative seems
straightforward enough, but it has come up against some intense opposition
around the nation.
Former Democratic Presidential frontrunner and Vermont Governor Howard Dean said this about the initiative,
Protect Arizona Now initiative is about destroying the ideal of the American
community. The ballot initiative is offensive and wrong and I oppose it.
It is a mistake to blame undocumented immigrants for the failings of the
former candidate for the office of President, called I-03-2004 a “mean-spirited
reaction to the inadequate current immigration system,” and said, “The undocumented
workers who will be victimized by this proposal don't deserve it.”
The group Derchos Humanos stated through the Arizona Independent Media Center
that, “Protect Arizona Now, the proposed initiative which calls for state
and local governments to act as immigration officials, will only serve to
chip away at the human rights and civil liberties of all individuals. These
anti-immigrant measures will create division, fear, and hate in our communities.
Much like the California based Proposition 187, this initiative seeks to
force state and local governments to enforce immigration, which is a federal
anti-initiative sentiment from across the nation, the supporters of I-03-2004
have asked this question -- if the federal government doesn’t stem the tide
if illegal immigration, is it not up to the state and its citizens to protect
their financial interests and electoral integrity? To many across the state
of Arizona, the answer is an emphatic, YES!
“As the initiative's name says, it seeks to protect Arizona taxpayers and
citizens… those who believe citizenship and the precious rights of citizens
are not something people illegally crossing our borders by the millions are
entitled to just because they got past the Border Patrol,” states the official
by 21 state Representatives and seven Senators, I-03-2004 is shown by a GOPUSA
Poll to be drawing support from a staggering 96% of the Arizona voting public.
And according to a PROJECTUSA Poll, 95% of the same voting populace support
halting the flow of funds and voting rights to those illegally crossing our
borders in Arizona.
national level, the ROPER POLL shows 85% of the American population supports
tightening our enforcement of immigration laws.
brings us back to the main premise behind Initiative I-03-2004. Although
many opponents of the initiative -- such as Salomon R. Baldenegro of the
weblog Latino Political Wire -- have called it a “divisive and racist” piece
of legislation, those in favor of I-03-2004 remind us that this initiative
is not racially driven. Initiative # 03-2004 does not single out those entering
the state from Mexico, but applies to ALL illegal immigrants from around
the globe who find their way to Arizona. And while illegal Mexicans will
the be the biggest faction affected, I-03-2004 is, by definition, a colorblind
and racially unbiased proposition.
who has experienced and studied the repercussions of illegal immigration
into America, I have to say I agree with the supporters of this bill. It
is not fair to the hard working taxpayers of the State of Arizona that their
tax dollars are being used to support people who are here illegally and who
contribute little or no money back into the system. Not only do I believe
it is fair to cut these benefits, but perhaps when these benefits are not
available, those people seeking to enter this country illegally will think
twice and consider taking the route that so many around the globe have taken
-- legal immigration.
I believe the ratification of the Protect Arizona Now initiative would prove
a win-win situation for Arizona citizens and is possibly something to consider
implementing nationwide. I ask, why should we reward law-breakers like those
living here illegally with financial help, free healthcare and voting privileges.
This issue boils down to fairness to the citizens of Arizona, justice for those who have broken our immigration laws, and the preservation of our way of life.
S. Haver is a senior at Western Washington University and host of the conservative
talk-radio show The Boiling Point on KUGS FM 89.3.
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