Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Howard Dean said Republicans will "scapegoat" immigrants in the 2006 elections; what does he think of 2 Democratic governors who declared states of emergency because of illegal immigration?

Imagine if Florida's Governor Jeb Bush decided to wait until yesterday to declare a state of emergency in reaction to Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan that struck his state a year ago. In a way, that's what Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has done by waiting until yesterday to declare a state of emergency concerning the way illegal immigration has impacted her state.

After repeatedly rejecting, opposing and vetoing attempts to curb illegal immigration, measures that were politically popular with Arizona voters, Napolitano has finally "seen the light" and is acting as if she's the one who's been stymied by the federal government from clamping down on this problem.

[Arizona Republic]: Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano declared an emergency Monday in four border counties because of problems related to lax border enforcement and moved to provide local governments in those counties with up to $1.5 million in state funding. Napolitano's order directly released $200,000 from the state's emergency fund for disasters while her emergency council released an additional $1.3 million, spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer said.

The money is intended for use by counties and municipalities for a variety of purposes, including overtime pay for law enforcement officers, repairs of border fences, costs related to illegal immigrants' deaths, L'Ecuyer said. Napolitano's action followed by three days a similar declaration by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

The key is that Napolitano followed Richardson's lead. Only after a fellow Democratic governor from a neighboring state declared a state of emergency did Napolitano find the cover to shield herself from any left-wing criticism. She will face voters next year in a campaign for re-election and must have realized that copying Richardson is a good way to appear like a moderate on the immigration issue.

Will Arizona voters fall for Napolitano's conversion? Here's what blogger Greg Patterson had to say in the blog section of the Arizona Republic

Let's Review. Governor Napolitano...

- Opposed Prop. 200 [a popular measure passed by Arizona voters that required certain forms if ID at voting booths but now challenged in the courts -TG]

- Vetoed SB 1306, which would have allowed police officers to enforce immigration laws.

- Vetoed SB 1511, which would have banned state agencies and law enforcement from accepting consular ID Cards.

- Vetoed SB 1186, which incorporated into statute Prop 200 requirements for proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Then Governor Napolitano...

- Called a private summit of law enforcement agencies to address illegal immigration.

- But she didn't attend the summit because she and Sue Clark-Johnson were interviewing cab drivers in Ireland to get their opinion about the future of government-subsidized biotech.

Yes, the federal government must do more to help the states. But Napolitano has had a politically tin ear when it comes to listening to the frustrated voices of Arizona voters. Taking a cue from Gov. Richardson she revealed an appreciating for the fact that her constituents are fed up with the costly consequences of unbridled illegal immigration. Napolitano is especiall worried about her recently announced opponent Don Goldwater gaining traction on this issue. Goldwater has received national attention, including an appearance on CNN's "Lou Dobbs", highlighting Napolitano's disinterest in helping the state deter illegal immigrants from coming to Arizona. Her cynical ploy in order to shore up support in the polls must be pointed out to all those who have tried to make Arizona a more secure and safer state.

At least Napolitano has acted positively in one respect, something that Democrats and Republicans (including President Bush) in Washington can not claim. However, there have been stronger voices that have spoken out way before Napolitano's latest ploy that will be more effective in helping Arizona protect its citizens.
Greg Patterson: AZ Republic: Janet hits the panic button


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