Gubernatorial Hopeful Attacks Governor on Immigration

Phil Riske, Arizona Capitol Times (Phoenix), May 17

Republicans say illegal immigration from Mexico will be Governor Napolitano’s Achilles’ heel in her bid for reelection.

“The governor must stop pandering to the far left on this issue,” Keith DeGreen, who says he plans to be a Republican candidate for governor in 2006, told Arizona Capitol Times in an e-mail outlining suggestions he says state government should consider to stop illegal immigration.

“By sleeping through the greatest crisis of our time—presumably for fear of being called a racist—the governor is on the wrong side of history and is breaching her duty to defend the lawful residents of Arizona.”

Of the more than two-dozen immigration related bills introduced in the Legislature this year, Ms. Napolitano, so far, has vetoed three and signed two. As of May 12, four more immigration bills were awaiting her decision, and one was pending final legislative action.

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Mr. DeGreen’s suggestions for solutions to illegal border crossings from Mexico include citizen action and taxes to pay for more law enforcement.

“Clarify and protect the right of all citizens to use non-lethal means when appropriate, to help arrest people who are breaking our laws,” he wrote. “As the Minuteman project amply demonstrated, these well-trained volunteer citizens can act as the eyes and ears of [federal immigration officers] and state authorities.”

Mr. DeGreen, who was defeated in a 1988 attempt to unseat then-U.S. Sen. Dennis Deconcini, says the state should consider a package of laws “to clearly and unequivocally make the act of illegally residing in Arizona and/or transacting business in Arizona while an illegal resident, a continuing state crime . . . ”

He also calls for “serious sanctions” on employers who hire illegal immigrants and says he supports a federal guest worker program.

“But whether a worker program is in place or not, employers who violate the law should be punished. Period,” Mr. DeGreen said.

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In her weekly meeting with reporters May 11, Ms. Napolitano defended her vetoes of bills requiring federal, state or tribal identification to receive government services (S1511); tightening up ID requirements for prospective voters (S1118); contracting for construction of a private prison in Mexico to incarcerate illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Arizona (H2709), and making English Arizona’s official language (S1166).

“These bills . . . will not have one whit of an effect on illegal immigration in this state,” she said. “You have to look at what is finally going to stem the tide of all of this illegal entry into Arizona. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think they’re coming over here to vote.

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