State Capitol News
11:01 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Thursday's Filing of Legislation on Who Gets to Claim Citizenship Starts Process Likely to End with Lawsuit

Phoenix, AZ – As a legal matter, the issue is simple. The 14th amendment says
anyone born in this country and subject to its jurisdiction is a
citizen. For more than the last century that's been interpreted
to confer citizensip even on the children of people not here
legally. The measures filed Thursday seek to redefine that on the
premise that the children of illegal immigrants share the
parents' loyalty to another country. There were some arguments by
foes, like Rep. Bruce Wheeler, who said that the state, given its
financial problems, should not be taking on this issue.

(I find this bill obnoxious. I find it divisive. And I find it a
waste of time when Arizona is hurting economically. We're trying
to address our educational issues. We're trying to get the
ecomony going and get people working and get the job deficit that
we're facing.)

But Wheeler also called the measure racist. That theme was echoed
by Sen. Steve Gallardo.

(This takes us back to the time where we had separate drinking
fountains, one for whites and one for blacks. This goes back to
the time when we had separate public swimming pools, one for
whites, one for blacks.)

Rep. Catherine Miranda went even further, saying that all the
measures aimed at illegal immigrants, ranging from denying
students the ability to pay in-state tuition at universities and
community colleges to fears of deportation, have created the same
fear that existed in Nazi Germany.

(During the Holocaust, parents placed their children in the care
of those who were willing to risk their lives to protect them.
Today, in Arizona, thousands of mothers go to work each morning,
not knowing if they can come home to their families or end up in
a deportation center. Who can doubt that we are experiencing a
Holocaust in Arizona?)

Questioned about that comparison, Miranda refused to back away.

(For those of us who have been out in the community and have
experienced the fear and intimidation of these people would agree
with me that any comment that I made today is not an
exaggeration.)

Former state Rep. Ben Miranda, who is Catherine's husband, told
of his own experience as an attorney dealing with a 14-year-old
girl who was born in this country but whose parents were here
illegally. Her father, after being deported, tried to get back in
the country illegally. Two weeks later his body was found in the
desert.

(The suffering that this person experienced before his death was
no less than any person that was ever put in an oven. And that's
what we're talking about. Now, you don't hear a lot about it. But
you often should take note of the thousands, if not over 10, 20
thousand people that have died on the border. That is a
holocaust.)

Thursday's filing of what have been called the birthright
citizenship bills had one other bit of fallout. Dee Dee Blase,
founder of Somos Republicans, started a recall petition against
Senate President Russell Pearce who has been at the forefront of
the issue. Blase acknowledged that Pearce was just reelected less
than three months ago by a wide margin. But she said since that
time the Church of Latter-Day Saints came out in support of what
has been called the Utah Compact. It opposes immigration policies
that separate families and says that immigration is a federal and
not a state issue. Mesa has a large percentage of members of the
LDS church, including Pearce himself.

(And, so, I believe, and I know, that there is a change of heart
with the Mormon community in Mesa. And that is where we hope to
continue to educate that community with how expensive these
ridiculous bills are.)

Blase has until May 27 to get nearly 78-hundred valid signatures
to force an election. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.