A leading supporter of Proposition 200, the immigration measure facing voters, on Friday called a sting at the state Motor Vehicle Division “a gift from God” for the campaign.
Twenty-six current and former state workers and eight others were indicted this week on charges that they illegally sold driver’s licenses to, among others, federal agents posing as undocumented immigrants.
Randy Pullen, chairman of Yes on 200, said the bust proves the measure is needed to help prevent undocumented immigrants from fraudulently applying for state services.
Pullen and former Attorney General Grant Woods debated the initiative at a breakfast for Valley Partnership, a non-profit business-development organization.
“Thank you, God, that we have a huge problem with fraud in our motor vehicles department,” Pullen told Valley Partnership members.
“If anybody does not believe today that we have problems with fraud in this state with regards to issues like this, and with voting and welfare, let me tell you, ‘God didn’t make little green apples, and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime,’ because it is a fact.”
Proposition 200, known as Protect Arizona Now, would make criminals of state and local government employees who fail to check the immigration status of anyone applying for non-federally mandated state services. It also would require proof of citizenship to register to vote and an ID when voting in person.
Woods, chairman of Arizonans for Real Immigration Reform, said that the MVD bust showed that the system works and exposes “the fallacies” of Proposition 200.
“There’s a lot of things to thank God for, but I didn’t know that one of them was we should thank God for fraud at the MVD,” Woods said.
Even supporters agree that the measure does nothing to stop illegal immigration and laws against providing welfare and other services to undocumented immigrants are already on the books.
Woods told the group that the measure was “poorly written” because it does not define “public benefits.” Also, it could lead to higher government costs and government intrusion on citizens who may have to produce birth certificates or passports for services as minor as getting a library card.
Woods said the entire Arizona congressional delegation, the governor, mayors and business groups with diverging ideological interests all oppose Proposition 200.
“Can you think of anything else that all of these people agree upon? I can’t,” Woods said.
Pullen said, “the real business community,” meaning small-business owners, supports the measure, evidenced by recent polls which indicate that eight Republicans to one support the measure as do three Democrats to one.
Pullen also noted that eight of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists were in the country illegally but registered to vote.
“If you don’t think we have a problem with illegal voting in this state or others, then you just don’t understand the problem,” Pullen said.
Woods said voter fraud is rare because terrorists and undocumented immigrants are not entering the country to vote.
“We can’t get our own people to vote in elections, much less get someone else to come here and vote,” Woods said, before making a joke about recent conservative triumphs in recent legislative primaries.
“By the way, if they are voting, they’re voting very conservatively,” he added.