Bill Astle: Arizona inaccuracies
September 26, 2010
This letter is in response to Chuck McConnell's letter to the editor "Arizona trip" in the Sept. 22 Steamboat Today. I am a resident of southern Arizona who is spending a month here in "The 'Boat." I first visited in 1965 and have never felt I should speak out about matters that longtime residents know much more about than I do, but I now feel compelled to write.
McConnell's letter was so full of inaccuracies that it's hard to know where to begin.
The sign McConnell refers to, warning visitors to "Be Careful," is nothing more than the equivalent of a warning about any other hazard. I guess the "Open Range" signs are expressing "a clear and present danger," too.
The Arizona state law (S.B. 1070) McConnell refers to has been found unconstitutional by a federal judge. The law was judged to be infringing on the federal responsibility to control immigration, and it does not mirror federal law.
Crime is not rampant on the Arizona side of the border. In fact, according to FBI data, crime has decreased. Politicians such as Gov. Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, state Sen. Russell Pearce, U.S. Sen. John McCain and others have tried to create the impression that southern Arizona is being overrun by illegal immigrants who are hell bent on beheading Americans. It's just plain not true.
Colorado state Rep. Randy Baumgardner may have spent six days in Arizona, but a tour with Pearce and 10 other Republican legislators is hardly a way to get an unbiased view. The Arizona Republican Party has been running the state for more than 40 years and has run it into near bankruptcy. Now that the bad news is about to sink the state, they are desperate to change the subject to immigration and to blame immigrants. Arizona's real problems are caused by wrongheaded policies and practices foisted on its citizens by Republican lawmakers, not by undocumented migrants.
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Bill AstleBill Astle
Marana, Ariz.Marana, Ariz.Marana, Ariz.