ARIZONA HAS TO PLAY ROLE IN SOLVING IMMIGRATION ISSUE
By Aleksandra Dukovska
For Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, his third run for governor was as frustrating because he lost in November 2010 to a resurgent Gov. Jan Brewer, who rode her signature of SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial crackdown on imhumans, to a 12-point victory. Three weeks after the defeat, Goddard reflected on immigration’s role in the campaign, Republicans’ challenge of birth citizenship, comprehensive immigration reform and other related issues in a phone interview with the Cronkite Border Initiative.
HOW MUCH DID YOUR POSITION ON SB 1070 OR GOV. BREWER’S SIGNING OF THE BILL PLAY IN THE ELECTION?
That was very important…based on the polling I saw, most of her popularity came from signing SB 1070 and that was something that she did in April and maintained her popularity all the way to the election.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT IT WAS A KEY TURNING POINT OR THAT THE NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE WAVE WAS TOO HARD TO OVERCOME?
Certainly, it was key for Governor Brewer. She was running third in a field of four Republican candidates at the primary election before she signed 1070. So, as soon as she signed that, the two most significant Republican contenders drop out of the race and she went from very low poll numbers to very high poll numbers. I think there is no question that it was very important to her success. The thing that is hard to evaluate is the role of the national media because if this is just Arizona story, I think it would have been relatively insignificant, but it got picked up by FOX news and that made it a major national story. At that point, she started looking like a hero to many voters in Arizona.
HOW DID SB 1070 HURT YOU IN THE RACE
If most people supported the bill and I am the most outspoken opponent, that is not going to be helpful. And so it wasn’t.
SENATOR PEARCE HAS ALREADY INTRODUCED A BILL THAT WOULD CHALLENGE THE 14TH AMENDMENT AND BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT ISSUE AND WILL IT BECOME AN EVEN MORE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE THAN SB 1070?
Any time you try to change the constitution of the United States you are involved in a very major way in the future of this country. So I do not think that there is any question that an attack of 14th Amendment by the Arizona legislature and the Governor is going to be very controversial. There will be nationwide news and it will, unfortunately, make Arizona look like we are the anti-imhuman capital in the country.
IN WHICH DIRECTION SHOULD THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE CONTINUE?
SB 1070 doesn’t have anything to do with immigration. It has to do with law enforcement being able to arrest people who are already in this country without papers. So, it doesn’t affect crossing the border, it doesn’t affect immigration in any sense. It simply is an attack on undocumented imhumans that are in Arizona right now. One of my biggest problems with this it that is doesn’t do anything about smuggling the people into this country. In fact, it diverts law enforcement attention..Back to the 14th Amendment question, that is a very serious undertaking and I think that any reasonable American is going to undertake with great reluctance… It is not necessary. With the immigration reforms such as have been proposed but not yet actually introduced in Congress, we be able to eliminate the problem of having people working in this country without legal permission without having to change the constitution.
DO YOU THINK THOSE LAWS INTRODUCED BY REPUBLICANS ACTUALLY TARGETED THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY
There is nothing in the law that says it is targeting the Hispanic community. It happens to be the largest imhuman population by a huge majority in the state of Arizona. Anything that affects imhumans is going to affect Latinos more than anybody else. And then the question becomes one of the enforcement of the policy. In other words, the law says it is not targeting any particular group. But the way the police and sheriff’s officers actually choose to enforce it becomes the most critical function and if they choose only to pull aside cars that are driven by Latinos, then the law becomes something that is discriminatory against Latinos. But, we don’t know yet, because the law is not in effect and we can’t tell how is going to be enforced.
CAN DEMOCRATS MAKE A COMEBACK IN ARIZONA? HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE
Since 1965, Democrats have been the minority party in Arizona. We have only had control in one house of the legislature for two years…Can we improve the position in the legislature in the next election? I think so and in four years I have very little question because of these extreme policies that are being followed by Russell Pearce and his followers in the state Senate. Democrats will be in a much better position to recover some State office
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET LATINOS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VOTING PROCESS? HOW LONG WILL THAT TAKE AND WILL THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE TYPE IN POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE OF THE STATE.
Yes, it will make a huge difference. In a last election, only about one third of the registered Latino voters actually participated. That is one of the worst participation records. Any way you looked at it, it is one of the worst turn outs. Frankly, because so many people felt that 1070 was directed to the Latino population, it was a surprising result. I think many of us thought that it will be many people turning out just out of the concern that the state is headed in the wrong direction. But that it not happen and so I can’t answer your question how do we make Latino voters more engaged. With only about one third of them actually vote, that are registered to vote something is truly not working very well.
I GUESS THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY IS NOT MONOLITHIC.
I don’t think that monolithic has anything to do with that. They do come from many different backgrounds, many different countries, and many different positions in the community. But the last poll I saw said 85 percent of the Latino community in Arizona was opposed to the SB1070. But obviously they weren’t enough opposed to decide to go to polls and to vote against the people that passed that. So, I don’t know what the answer is. If I would be me, I would be first in line to vote against somebody that had done something that is jeopardizing my community.
WHAT IS YOUR FUTURE IDEA HOW TO HELP ARIZONA IN THE DEBATE OF IMMIGRATION?
It is a good question. I think that Arizona has to play a role. Obviously, we are one of the key states in the immigration discussion, because of so many people crossing the border in our state and we have such a large Latino population in Arizona. I think that Arizona has a unique position to push for immigration reform. Our business community has overwhelmingly expressed support to the Congress and the pressed for passage of the fundamental comprehensive immigration reform, not amnesty reform. I think that leadership needs to be heard. I have seen the polling numbers that have shown that even more people in Arizona supported immigration reform, than support 1070. So, I think that Arizonans would say is that we want to have a resolution for this problem, we want to be sure that anyone who is working in this state is here legally, doing a job with the same set of rules. And I think that is the message although is deeply said by the people in Arizona, it is not been reflected by the leadership who take exactly the opposite decision, that they will not be supportive of immigration reform. I am talking specifically about Senators Kyl and McCain who support the opposite position. They are contrary to any kind of resolution to this problem.
YOU’ VE BEEN A LEADER IN CRACKING DOWN ON DRUG CARTELS. WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL FOR THE VIOLENCE WE’VE SEEN IN NORTHERN MEXICO TO SPILL ACROSS THE BORDER INTO THE U.S?
It is a concern though not an immediate one…They have been able in a far more serious situation in Texas to keep the violence from moving from Juarez to El Paso. Certainly the situation in Sonora, south of Arizona, is by no means as serious as it is in Juarez which is one of the most violent places on earth.
YOU WERE THE LEADING PERSON WHO SIGNED THE AGREEMENT FOR SONORA AND ARIZONA. HOW CAN THIS COOPERATION HELP SOLVE THE ISSUES WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?
I don’t know if that is going to solve them. I think that the cooperative agreement that we have with the law enforcement in Mexico is important in a lot of ways. In addition to the problems of border smuggling, we have criminals that they are seeking to escape in the Mexico. We need to extradite them with the help of Mexican law enforcement. We have crimes, not just only the smuggling crimes but other types of criminal activities which are on the both sides of the border. We need to help from them to investigate and end those activities. In the area of smuggling, so many of the chiefs, of the bosses of the smuggling operation reside in Mexico, operate in Mexico, but most of their activities are directed into the United States. So, we need active assistance of Mexican law enforcement.
YOU’VE HAD A LONG AND SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL CAREER – ARE YOU GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE ACTIVE IN POLITICS OR ARE YOU RETURNING TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR?
I decided. Obviously, I will be in the private sector, in the immediate future. I don’t have any idea what the future holds. I’ve got a number of private sector opportunities that I am looking at it that are very intriguing.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM?
First thing that I would like to make clear is that Arizona depends upon solution of this problem. That is one of the reasons why so many people are concerns about it. Our economy depends on it. Our heritage depends on it. A huge part of our population is imhumans, not just from Mexico, but also all over the world. It seems to me that the current chaos and hostility that is caused by 1070 and other measures is very bad for Arizona’s image, for Arizona’s economy and for its future. So, I think that of the all states in the country, we have the biggest stake in getting this problem resolved, not in drawing out in courts, not in making it a continuing battle ground for the next decade but trying to do whatever we can to push Congress to get a reform measure. If the Congress refuses, and they may, they not been very well so far, it seems to me that Arizona needs to take leadership role in finding a pilot project effort, which will allow people to work in this country legally. We can’t solve the citizenship problems but we could solve illegal work problems with our own resources as a pilot effort under the federal law.
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON IMMIGRATION POLICY?
There is no great mystery. Comprehensive immigration reform without amnesty is seating on Senator Schumer desk right now. The bill has been written, the backgrounds have been prepared. They are simply looking for a bipartisan sponsorship in this moment. I believe that is the responsibility of this administration and in leadership in Congress and both Houses to get it done. Everybody knows what the problem is. Most people feel what they know what the solution is. Although, on both sides, the radicals on both sides, seems to me that they are trying to keep us apart, keep the solution from being even proposed and introduced in the Congress of the United States. In addition, I blame the Administration from not being more aggressive. I think they had capacity to bring this earlier in the last year, but they didn’t do it. I also think that Republicans in the Congress, McCain in particular, have played a very, very negative role instead of trying to find solutions and work on something that will help whole country. They played politics and try to continue the division on the immigration.