Fri March 10, 2006
National Guard on the Border
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – As she promised a day earlier, Gov. Janet Napolitano
vetoed a $10 million appropriation for the Guard on
Thursday because it ordered her to put troops on the
border. In her veto, the governor reminded lawmakers of
a constitutional provision which makes her the
commander-in-chief of the Guard -- and, by her way of
thinking, gives her sole authority to determine where
troops are deployed. But the governor said she is
willing to put troops in Southern Arizona if lawmakers
send her a bill that allows -- but does not require her
-- to station troops along the border. That was
unacceptable to Rep. John Allen, whose bill she vetoed.
(My bill is not going to change from shall to may.
She's not trustworthy. If we change the shall to may
we're not going to get the troops on the border.)
So is he calling the governor a liar?
(There's a distance between what she says and what she
Rep. Jonathan Paton who represents part of Southern
Arizona, acknowledged that the governor, by signing an
emergency declaration last year, put some money into
the hands of Southern Arizona law enforcement agencies
to battle the effects of illegal immigration, including
overtime for police officers and increased jail costs.
But he dismissed that as meaningless because it does
not deal with the underlying problem of people entering
this country illegally.
(What matters to ranchers in my district is whether
people are going to be walking on their ranches. What
matters to ranchers in my district are whether people
are going to be dying on their ranches. That hasn't
stopped. That has not stopped one iota.)
The House did vote Thursday on another funding bill --
one apparently closer to what Napolitano would sign.
This one appropriates money for Guard troops in
Southern Arizona, but without the language the governor
finds unacceptable. But some legislative Democrats
found fault with that one, too -- though not for the
same reason Napolitano vetoed the first one. Rep. Pete
Rios wondered what would happen to Arizona businesses
if placing Guard units along the border actually were
successful in deterring illegal immigration. For
example, he said, there's the state's tourism industry.
(All you have to do is stop and think for one split for
one split second. I mean, who cuts the greens on those
fairways at those resorts where those visitors stay?
Who cleans those rooms? Who builds those buildings?)
Rios complained that some lawmakers have tried to make
villains out of undocumented workers. Yet these are the
same people who Arizonans hire for everything --
including taking care of their children. But Rep.
Russell Pearce said the fact is that these people are
in this country illegally, some are committing other
crimes -- and that in the absence of federal action the
state needs to do what it can about the problem. In
Phoenix, for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard