Defeat of Arizona Patriotic Immigration Reform Package Calls for Vigilance—Not Pessimism
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When Kris Kobach and a group of state legislators held a press conference in January unveiling their model legislation to challenge birthright citizenship, the usual riffraff of self-proclaimed "anti-fa" protesters showed up to try to disrupt the event. In addition to passing out flyers with images of Pilgrims with the caption "Who's the anchor baby?", they demanded that Kobach reveal his  "corporate backers."

These wannabe revolutionaries are unwilling to recognize that they are on the same side as the corporate establishment which does not fund any patriotic immigration reform groups, but gives tens of millions of dollars to La Raza.

I noted their disconnect immediately after the press conference. And it became even clearer on March 14, when the CEOs of 60 Arizona businesses sent an open letter to State Senate President and SB 1070 sponsor Russell Pearce stating "we strongly believe it is unwise for the Legislature to pass any additional immigration legislation, including any measures leaving the determination of citizenship to the state." [CEOs on Immigration Letter, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (Email the President of the Phoenix Chamber, Todd Sanders)]

By the end of the week, the Republican-controlled State Senate voted down five pieces of immigration control legislation including one that dealt with birthright citizenship, made it a crime for illegal aliens to drive, and required documentation at public schools and hospitals to help set the basis for overturning Plyler vs. Doe and other federal mandates for states to accommodate illegal aliens.

Following this vote, many usual suspects already began proclaiming the death of state-level immigration control. The Huffington Post's self-described "Hispanic Fanatic" blogger Daniel Cubias asked "Has Anti-Latino [i.e. anti-illegal immigration] Sentiment Peaked?" His gleeful answer was an astounding Si!

"Even Arizona itself is rethinking its lunatic stance on Latinos. The state's creators of SB 1070, who for some bizarre reason thought that people were clamoring for a sequel to their divisive legislation, recently introduced several new attacks on Hispanics (and upon the Constitution, while they were at it). But those bills all went down in flames."

Cubias [Email him]says that all the screaming about illegal immigration we are hearing now is just a last gasp of the old America who are coming to grips with the fact that "they might not be the unquestioned masters of America for much longer" because "the younger generation doesn't share their biases. And that undeniable fact means that the old vision of America will soon be relegated to ignominy." [Has Anti-Latino Sentiment Peaked, by Daniel Cubias, Huffington Post, March 18, 2011]

But a New York Times editorial celebrating the defeat was much more cautious in its gloating. While it was happy to see the bills die, it realized "it is not the end of harsh, shortsighted laws."

Fortunately, even the Times relatively restrained editorial overstates how much of a defeat the vote was for the patriotic immigration reform movement. While it was a disappointment, the momentum is still on the patriots' side, and they can win again in Arizona and across the nation.

The Times editorial bemoans that the bill was defeated by business interests rather than "strong moral arguments against xenophobic anti-immigration bills." [Arizona Flinches, April 21, 2011] The reason for this is that the voters of Arizona do are not buying any of the sob stories from the ethnic groups—so the bills were only defeated by the undemocratic influence of corporate power into politics, something the Left claims to oppose

But while the moneyed interests are a formidable adversary, they are vulnerable. Despite their strong grip on the GOP, the Cheap Labor lobby in Arizona was not able to stop Prop 200, the Legal Arizona Workers Act, or SB 1070.

Just because they won this time, in aftershave-filled rooms, does not mean they will be able to stop a future challenge to birthright citizenship.

 It is also important to note how much progress patriotic immigration reformers have made on the state level. When the Legal Arizona Worker Act requiring E –Verify for all employers in the state passed in 2007, it was by far the strongest state immigration control law in the country. Just three years ago, I would have said the idea of states challenging birthright citizenship was well-intentioned, but unlikely to go anywhere. However, SB 1070 changed the paradigm so much that it became a realistic option. The fact that it even came up for a vote would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Within this context, the Republican Party has moved (at least in lip service) much closer to the patriot position. As Russell Pearce notes

"In 2004, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) was the only member of the Arizona congressional delegation to support Prop 200. The Arizona Republican Party, though not the grass roots, opposed the initiative as well. Seven years later, the state GOP, four of the five Republican congressmen (except Rep. Jeff Flake), and both Republican senators—John McCain and Jon Kyl — support SB 1070." [Washington Watcher note: Flake flip flopped on amnesty last week—expect him to come out strong for SB 1070 as the Senate Primary race progresses]

But despite the progress immigration patriots made with the GOP, there can be no doubt that the Republican Party Establishment is still an obstacle. Even with men like Pearce in positions of power and the ostensible support of some key Republicans, real patriotic immigration reform still needs to overcome the GOP Establishment and its corporate backers.

But as Pearce has aptly stated: "We have fought these battles before and prevailed. We will prevail again." [1 battle in Arizona immigration war, by Russell Pearce, Politico, March 26, 2011]

"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.

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