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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

Story By Laura Sullivan for NPR

October 28, 2010 -
Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

"The gentleman that's the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger," Nichols said. "He's a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman."

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.
"They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community," Nichols said, "the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate."

But Nichols wasn't buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

"They talked like they didn't have any doubt they could fill it," Nichols said.

That's because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona's immigration law.

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., says two men came to the city last year "talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.

Behind-The-Scenes Effort To Draft, Pass The Law

The law is being challenged in the courts. But if it's upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally.

When it was passed in April, it ignited a fire storm. Protesters chanted about racial profiling. Businesses threatened to boycott the state.

Supporters were equally passionate, calling it a bold positive step to curb illegal immigration.
But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about.

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country.

"Enough is enough," Pearce said in his office, sitting under a banner reading "Let Freedom Reign." "People need to focus on the cost of not enforcing our laws and securing our border. It is the Trojan horse destroying our country and a republic cannot survive as a lawless nation."

But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

It's a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.

It was there that Pearce's idea took shape.

"I did a presentation," Pearce said. "I went through the facts. I went through the impacts and they said, 'Yeah.'"

Drafting The Bill

The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there.

Pearce and the Corrections Corporation of America have been coming to these meetings for years. Both have seats on one of several of ALEC's boards.

And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.

In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.

"There were no 'no' votes," Pearce said. "I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation."

Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law.
They even named it. They called it the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."
"ALEC is the conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group," said Michael Hough, who was staff director of the meeting.

Hough works for ALEC, but he's also running for state delegate in Maryland, and if elected says he plans to support a similar bill to Arizona's law.

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, "Yeah, that's the way it's set up. It's a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together."

Nothing about this is illegal. Pearce's immigration plan became a prospective bill and Pearce took it home to Arizona.

Campaign Donations

Pearce said he is not concerned that it could appear private prison companies have an opportunity to lobby for legislation at the ALEC meetings.

"I don't go there to meet with them," he said. "I go there to meet with other legislators."

Pearce may go there to meet with other legislators, but 200 private companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to meet with legislators like him.

As soon as Pearce's bill hit the Arizona statehouse floor in January, there were signs of ALEC's influence. Thirty-six co-sponsors jumped on, a number almost unheard of in the capitol. According to records obtained by NPR, two-thirds of them either went to that December meeting or are ALEC members.

That same week, the Corrections Corporation of America hired a powerful new lobbyist to work the capitol.
The prison company declined requests for an interview. In a statement, a spokesman said the Corrections Corporation of America, "unequivocally has not at any time lobbied — nor have we had any outside consultants lobby – on immigration law."

At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.

Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.

By April, the bill was on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.

Brewer has her own connections to private prison companies. State lobbying records show two of her top advisers — her spokesman Paul Senseman and her campaign manager Chuck Coughlin — are former lobbyists for private prison companies. Brewer signed the bill — with the name of the legislation Pearce, the Corrections Corporation of America and the others in the Hyatt conference room came up with — in four days.

Brewer and her spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In May, The Geo Group had a conference call with investors. When asked about the bill, company executives made light of it, asking, "Did they have some legislation on immigration?"

After company officials laughed, the company's president, Wayne Calabrese, cut in.

"This is Wayne," he said. "I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what's happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there's going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do."
Opportunities that prison companies helped create.

October 29, 2010

When you walk into the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council, it's hard to imagine it is the birthplace of a thousand pieces of legislation introduced in statehouses across the county.

Only 28 people work in ALEC's dark, quiet headquarters in Washington, D.C. And Michael Bowman, senior director of policy, explains that the little-known organization's staff is not the ones writing the bills. The real authors are the group's members — a mix of state legislators and some of the biggest corporations in the country.

"Most of the bills are written by outside sources and companies, attorneys, [and legislative] counsels," Bowman says.

Here's how it works: ALEC is a membership organization. State legislators pay $50 a year to belong. Private corporations can join, too. The tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and drug-maker Pfizer Inc. are among the members. They pay tens of thousands of dollars a year. Tax records show that corporations collectively pay as much as $6 million a year.

With that money, the 28 people in the ALEC offices throw three annual conferences. The companies get to sit around a table and write "model bills" with the state legislators, who then take them home to their states.

Lobbying Or Education?

One of those bills is now Arizona's controversial new immigration law. It requires police to arrest anyone who cannot prove they entered the country legally when asked. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could be locked up, and private prison companies stand to make millions.

The largest prison company in the country, the Corrections Corporation of America, was present when the model immigration legislation was drafted at an ALEC conference last year.

ALEC's Bowman says that is not unusual; more than 200 of the organization's model bills became actual laws over the past year. But he hedges when asked if that means the unofficial drafting process is an effective way to accelerate the legislative process.

"It's not an effective way to get a bill passed," he says. "It's an effective way to find good legislation."
The difference between passing bills and "finding" them is lobbying. Most states define lobbying as pushing legislators to create or pass legislation. And that comes with rules. Companies typically have to disclose to the public what they are lobbying for, who's lobbying for them or how much they are spending on it.

If ALEC's conferences were interpreted as lobbying, the group could lose its status as a non-profit. Corporations wouldn't be able to reap tax benefits from giving donations to the organization or write off those donations as a business expense. And legislators would have a hard time justifying attending a conference of lobbyists.

Bowman says what his group does is educate lawmakers.

"ALEC allows a place for everyone at the table to come and debate and discuss," he says. "You have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters. They're just trying to learn a policy and understand it."

Much about ALEC is private. It does not disclose how it spends it money or who gives it to them. ALEC rarely grants interviews. Bowman won't even say which legislators are members.

Is it lobbying when private corporations pay money to sit in a room with state lawmakers to draft legislation that they then introduce back home? Bowman, a former lobbyist, says, "No, because we're not advocating any positions. We don't tell members to take these bills. We just expose best practices. All we're really doing is developing policies that are in model bill form."

So, for example, last December Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce sat in a hotel conference room with representatives from the Corrections Corporation of America and several dozen others. The group voted on model legislation that was introduced into the Arizona legislature two months later, almost word for word.
Bowman says that type of meeting is an informational exchange, meant to help legislators understand policy.

But first ALEC has to get legislators to the conferences. The organization encourages state lawmakers to bring their families. Corporations sponsor golf tournaments on the side and throw parties at night, according to interviews and records obtained by NPR.

Bowman says that's nothing special: "We have breakfasts and lunch. They're at Marriotts and Hyatts. They're normal chicken dinner. Maybe sometimes they get steaks. Yeah, we feed the people. We think that it's OK to eat at a conference."

Videos and photos from one recent ALEC conference show banquets, open bar parties and baseball games — all hosted by corporations. Tax records show the group spent $138,000 to keep legislators' children entertained for the week.

But the legislators don't have to declare these as corporate gifts.

Consider this: If a corporation hosts a party or baseball game and legislators attend, most states require the lawmakers to say where they went and who paid. In this case though, legislators can just say they went to ALEC's conference. They don't have to declare which corporations sponsored these events.

'Scholarships' For Conferences

Kirk Adams, Arizona's House speaker, went to ALEC's most recent gathering in San Diego.
"I have been to ALEC's conferences and they have been pretty educational — the ones that I've been to," he says, adding that the time he spends with corporate executives does not influence his opinions on the issues.
"If we were to believe that a dinner with a lobbyist would purchase a member's allegiance to an issue, then we have much larger problems than that," Adams says. "It's just simply not been my experience at all."
When asked if he paid his own way to the ALEC conference, Adams acknowledges he accepted money from the group to help pay for the trip. ALEC calls this a "scholarship."

Many ALEC members receive these scholarships. But it's not clear who's really paying.

Michael Bowman initially said state Sen. Pearce, who also accepted a scholarship, would know who paid for his trip. But the Arizona lawmaker said ALEC paid for it. Later, Bowman said Bob Burns, another Arizona state Senator, would know. Burns was in charge of pooling money for the scholarships. He did not respond to NPR's repeated requests asking where the money came from.

In an office at the Arizona statehouse, a review of records show that not one Arizona legislator who went to the conference reported receiving any gifts of meals, parties, golf outings or banquets tickets from a private corporation.

Pearce and a dozen others wrote that they received a gift of $500 or more from ALEC.

A review of the two dozen states now considering Arizona's immigration law shows many of those pushing similar legislation across the country are ALEC members.



  1. Murdering Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    If the only illegals coming across were people seeking work kvetching would be minimal. The would be no clamor for walls or new laws or more border patrols.

    Increasing in numbers are bums, drunks, and criminals. They get drunk and drive and kill. They shoot cops and kill.
    They shoot citizens and kill. They cross the border and kill.

    In border states the majority of deaths by drunk are from drunken illegals. The majority of cops killed are by illegals.

    Phoenix Arizona is the murder and kidnap capital of the world. And no it ain't happening by Americans,---of and descent.

    Wake up! People are fed up. There are seventeen states passing similar and more severe laws than Arizona.


  2. I stopped readin at "NPR".

  3. @ 10/31 - 10:46

    Arguments like yours litter the chapters of World and US history. There will always be regrettable episodes where humans have succumbed to our call of the wild, our animal instincts, our guttural cowardices and our lowest common denominators. Its those fears that turn into the PEDESTRIAN hatreds of our time, against: the fucking spics, the fucking coons, the fucking hymies, the fucking Japs, chinks; ...take your pick.

    Consider what a recording of your personal history will say about you and your thoughts. A portion of that history will forever contain a note about how YOU allowed yourself to become a part of that mob; you used your vote, your voice and your life to help degrade, to help lynch, to help hurt... ...people. Just common, everyday poor people, children, old folks.

    Unfortunately, sentiments like yours slowly fade as people that think as you, die out. As far as I'm concerned, it can't happen soon enough.


  4. Phoenix is the murder and kidnap capital of the world?I think your the one that's drunk,by the way the "WHITE MAN" EXTERMINATED THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE AMERICANS!!!but thats ok because they where savages right?

  5. Similar arguments were made when the Irish, Italian and Polish people immigrated to America in the 1920's. Funny how Hispanics in the southwestern states can represent such a HUGE portion of the population and yet still be referred to as a minority.

    This is about money is rich people's pockets and the xenophopia of the real minority that lives in those states.

    To be honest my values are more conservative than liberal, I am a big believer in gun rights, but I would never vote for a party that thinks its o.k. to ask me to produce citizenship papers because of skin color and nothing else.

  6. Buela Chivis On FireNovember 1, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!
    I am Mexican American and have lived on this earth too long not to say something reeks when it does. And this does.

    1. The law challenged clearly and strictly defines the request for ID to initiate ONLY after a legal stop. If proven not to be a citizen has the absolute right to litigate, and I propose that will happen as soon as/if it goes into effect.
    2. The law is an extention of authority to the EXISTING federal law. Identical.
    3. Az, BTW my son and family lives as well as over 200 friends/family from Tucson to Phoenix, all Mexican and all favor the law. WHy? because feds are not upholding the law and Az is becomming dangerous with the cartel actions and kidnapping, they want it controlled NOW not after the fact.
    4. "Racial profiling" is a sappy liberal excuse to prevent disperate means in desperate times. Guess what my friend, it exists already to identify Middle eastern folks to give a second or third pass thru security at airports. My son looks mid eastern, he is Mx a fire captain, sometimes traveling in his dress uniform and every time he is pulled for checks, also my sister, about 50% of time. Both are not bothered by the necessary task. No one that has nothing to hide should be. it is what keeps us safe.. abuses can be kept in check, I trust ACLU will be all over this. They are drooling as we speak.
    3. "hispanics" (I prefer Latino) are referred to as a minority because we still are, we are not YET the majority, there is no racial bias there until we are a larger group than whites we remain minority. there is no slur to that stat!
    4. "This is about money is in rich peoples pockets" where the fuck do you get that from? In this great country of ours we can come from humble beginnings work hard, have some luck, a good idea, be Mexican and become ultra successful. It is up to each indiviual, I chose no excuses, I paid my way through school, married and we gave up a lot of fun/life to achieve what we did. I am amazed by lazy asses who condem the wealthy and place the blame on them for every social ill. Get real, I am responsibile for more than 2000 jobs, well paying with benefits...not your average Joe sitting back watching football on weekends and free time. I did not take a vacation in 25 years, worked every weekend and many holidays. Most wealthy americans were not trust fund babies. and I assure that even though my kids have trust funds they must work as well and give back to humanity.

    Generalizing is dangerous and depicts ignorance. I am a middle of the road conservative. However I, along with my cousins marched with Caesar Chavez, belonged to La Raza and have been a humanitarian for decades. A surprise I found even to conservatives are by far more charitiable than liberals, liberals talk.. conservatives walk the walk, check it out you will see the stats. Every humanitarian I have met founders of 501C3s, as I am, working in Mx have one thing in common...they are all conservatives and we all support the Az law. We are concerned yes, but like the Az people we are fearful of the danger that will be coming and already exists.

    IF THE US FED INS an ICE would do their jobs there would be no need for Az law.

    This is my opinion my dos centavos and I am firm in everything I say here.

  7. The first guy is just spewing ignorant Teabag B.S. change your Depends Paw Paw

  8. This used to be a pretty good website, it is now becoming political. Arizona is now dealing with a "beheading" just like the ones happening in Mexico. Stop liberals from getting a hold of this site or else you will loose your news audience. You don't want to become MSNBC.

  9. If you guys think for a minute that Latinos are going to just sit around and be railed into these fancy high tech concentration camps, er
    "Detention Centers" like a bunch of jews, youre in for a rude Awakening.!

  10. The conservatives might have the wind of the poor economy at their sails this time around, but their ideas have been resurrected out of the trash bin of history; you can only get so far with xenophobia, scapegoating, swift-boating a group of people "that are to blame;" as were the blacks, the Chinese, the Jews, the Irish, in their day.

    I enjoy seeing how "the right" expediently chooses to push itself away from a constituency that will procreate itself into a majority over it; its funny how they can work under the assumption that Hispanics are swing-vote until it gets to crunch time.... ...then you gotta do what you gotta do... ...turn them all into drunk-drivers, rapists, murderers, gang-members, drug traffickers, kidnappers.

    Last Wednesday I cast a straight ticket ballot for the first time in my life; I was in and out of the booth in 3-minutes. I resisted it as long as I could.

    Boo! We're coming to get ya!

  11. I was very disappointed to see an article by NPR (of all places) posted on this site. This site is too valuable to stoop to posting political garbage!

  12. "3. "hispanics" (I prefer Latino) are referred to as a minority because we still are, we are not YET the majority,.."

    I beg to differ.
    Becoming a -minority/special interest group-was a conscious effort perpetrated by LULAC and the like. It was done during the Johnson "Great Society". Until then Latinos were counted as Caucasian, there were no statistical differentiations.
    It was a choice by the poverty pimps to separate and control a segment of the American population for their personal and political benefit. Just like the Rainbow Coalition.

    What's Jesse really done for the blacks?
    I mean what good has he done for the blacks?


  13. the end of the day, no papers, adios!

    ...just like any other country including, mi mexico!

  14. Frontera

    NPR?? What is BB leaning to…liberal propaganda!! Periodically planting liberal seeded articles in an attempt to bait? What a joke, stick to what works, not someone else’s spin.

    Buela Chivis On Fire is correct!

  15. Si Pendejetes as if only Conserviturd opinions matter?

  16. I am a regular reader of BB and I was disappointed to see this political immigration rhetorical bias story that does not seem to fit the BB format. Smurf, how is this issue related to the drug cartels?

    This shit is all over the place here in AZ and I try to get away from it, now it's here too???

    With all the daily mayhem in Mexico, I would think there would be better used of our time and energy.

  17. This is how legislation is written all over the USA. There are hundreds of ALEC's organizations writing "Model" bills. There is nothing shady happening here.

    Do you think that the individual politicians write the laws? They never write code, only introduce and sponsor it in the legislative houses.

    This is a classic example of how our system works.

    Thanks for sharing this one.

  18. Buela

    You always bring a very strong argument to support your case, and I enjoy reading your comments, even though I strongly disagree with you on this issue, you have my respect.

    Perhaps the Arizona law works for Arizona and you would know better than I would; you live closer to the border than I. That said, I live in Virginia, really close to Washington D.C. and the conservatives here are trying to bring that style of law here. Just as your life experiences have shaped your opinion, so has mine been affected in the same way. I work in the labor market, I'm a naturalized citizen and I pay my taxes and I come in contact with illegal immigrants all the time. What I respect about the young and old people on the corner is that they come here looking to work, they don't ask for handouts, they simply want to be given a job and they stand outside in the hot sun and freezing cold begging for work instead of hustling. yes, there are gang problems here as well. Washington D.C. has a very high murder rate due in part by a prolific problem with the MS-13 gang (I cant STAND those guys!) committing a rash of machete attacks and shooting up the funerals of their rivals. But overall, my impression is that these people simply want a living wage and some respect on a human level.

    "This is about money is in rich peoples pockets" where the fuck do you get that from? In this great country of ours we can come from humble beginnings work hard, have some luck, a good idea, be Mexican and become ultra successful."

    Agreed, the problem is, this isn't a level playing field. The same people who have illegals clean their houses, fix their plumbing, mow their lawns, cook their meals, are a majority of the people who call out for raids on labor centers and legislation that basically says "if you're brown and we stop you, you better have some papers or be prepared to get fucked with."

    To get back to the article, it clearly shows that prison officials help draft that law to put more people into their prisons and receive government payouts. They did this by skirting around laws that prohibit gift-giving and other forms of bribes to politicians by calling these weekend getaways as "seminars" and workshops." From my viewpoint, this is about rich people an their money.

    And that isn't to say that I begrudge someone for being a good business person. I myself do quite well, as does my family who worked very hard to achieve an upper-middle class lifestyle, a higher income tax bracket, and did so without resorting to illegal immigration. The thing i love about America is that there is no ceiling to what you can achieve, the worst thing about it is that there is no floor either.

    If prison officials helped draft this law than the information should be out there and if the law works specifically for you Abuela and the state of Arizona, then i can live with that. Its your state, your laws. As a middle of the road conservative i hear you on that. But as a Virginian, I'll be damned if I'm gonna let that crazy ass law make its way through my state's legislation without an angry letter from me to my local rep.

  19. Don't post things from NPR. They are too easy to be proven false. See below article from 10/29 Arizona Central.

    By the time the group met, Pearce had taken similar ideas to the Statehouse floor in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In some cases, the bill failed to gain lawmakers' approval; in others it was vetoed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano.

    CCA denied lobbying Pearce.

    The NPR story said the model legislation that came out of ALEC "became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law."

    But the bill Pearce submitted at the start of the legislative session was amended five times before it reached Gov. Jan Brewer's desk, and the Legislature subsequently passed a second law to modify the one Brewer signed. Sullivan said on Thursday that she had been referring to the version that was introduced.

    NPR's account says that if SB 1070 is upheld by the courts, it "requires police to lock up anyone they stop" who cannot show proof they entered the country legally.

    The text of SB 1070 permits, but does not require, a law-enforcement officer to transport a person who does not have proof of legal status to a federal facility. It requires officers to inquire about a person's status when practicable, and it requires them to determine an arrested individual's status before releasing that person.

    In response to a lawsuit from the Department of Justice, a U.S. District Court judge has blocked those parts of the law from taking effect. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Monday.

    The NPR story suggests that private prisons will benefit from SB 1070 because of greater demand for facilities.

    "The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before," the story states. "And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private-prison companies responsible for housing them."

    But Pearce said most of those detained would likely be detained in city or county jails, not private prisons.

    Read more:

  20. This is absurd and typical of the type of crap you'd expect from a liberal NPR reporter. When the US government won't protect the lives of US citizens its time for the States to seal the gap. Time to get rid of Obama, Holder, and all the other Marxists in DC (see the results after voting tomorrow). This is liberal hogwash and not up to your usually high journalism standards. Viva Arizona! Abajo los extranjeros illegales!

  21. First of all, i am not attacking buela chivis' comment. I respect her opinion and she's already heated over this subject but this is my opinion:

    I am a liberal but i respect conservatives. I honestly believe that white america is just starting to shake in their pants a little because
    Brown people are growing a little too fast and probably will become the majority one day. This law was made to stabilize mexicans.

    They say that arizona has the highest kidnap ratio but the justice deptartment says that violent crimes in arizona is at its lowest point since 1971 and property crime since 1966. This is also about the richest bullying the poor. Did you know that muhammad is the most popular name in england now and garcia is the second most popular last name in america second to johnson?

    Brown people are probably going to breed their way to power in both europe and the america one day. Both the arabs and latinos are making white politicians a little nervous. Well look at the controversy that obama has already created with the conservatives.

    I don't know why this government doesn't place more stress on more important issues like goldman sachs, bp, corporate america's destruction of the union, new orleans, Securing our borders instead of trying to bully the hard working mexicans that are already living here. Its because its much easier to pass this kind of law. Attack the poor brown people. Do you think a cop is going to pull over the clean cut mexican driving the mercedes? No, the cop is going to pull over the dark mexican driving the clunker truck or the group of young chero's in the customed escalade. This is a loud message from white collar politicians.

    El paso is in the top ten safest cities in america with a majority of mexican-americans and now mexicans from juarez and has a lower unemployment rate than many other american cities.

    I am an owner of several businesses but i am not rich. I am well off but i am proud of hearing about a hard working mexican woman who started at the bottom and worked her way to a successful future, now supplying many jobs to others. We need more mexicans like buela in this country.

    But i was born poor and for that, i will always remember and never forget the poor mexicans who are trying to make it in this country now. They do not pose a threat to me. They are my people and right now they are being pushed unnecessarily.

  22. If caught in Mexico the prison term is 2 years, why the hell is it so wrong for us to do the same? How about I come live in your house for free?
    I may do some dishes but I refuse to pay any bills. The sense of entitlement is what pisses me off. So what if they "just want to work", there is a way to do it legally goddamit! Why is it we should foot the bill for the thousands of anchor babies born every year, why is it we should have to hire ESL teachers in our schools, why is it I have to show a cop my ID and illegals think they do not? If you are here illegally you forfeit your so called rights. In my opinion it is the ever growing sense of entitlement that angers so many here in the US. The prison issue is nothing new, Texas has more private prisons than you can shake a stick at. As someone who has travelled all over Mexico and studied their history and culture one thing is clear, it is high time they quit feeling sorry for themselves and take a stand. From the Spaniards to the Caste Wars, I know the history well. Rather than stand and fight many choose to run away, take the easy way out. Rather than plant seeds of change many choose to run and pick the low hanging fruit we have nurtured for years. I have many friends in Mexico and it saddens me to see them live in fear while their country in such shambles. If there were 11 mayors killed in the US and the govermnet did nothing we would take up arms and riot in the streets. Maybe it is time for the people of Mexico to start cleaning up their own backyard!

  23. I agree with smurf, i am against this law. This is the poor getting pushed around by the rich, as always. Nuff said...

  24. My friend Smurf..
    I respect you and your op and it is good to challenge an op if we feel it needs to be challenged, I draw the line when people attack one another personally, that is immature and pointless.
    That said, I have a op backed by years of life as an American and Mexican. I am the granddaughter of 4 immigrant grandparents, Mayan Buela, Criollo Spaniard buelo and two "mixed" you know the ones that drive birth registrars nuts because they can not figure out what to label us...I am "white" my folks "Mx" my brother "Caucasian" . I am from a huge family of civil servants and humanitarians. All four my uncles fought in WWII simultaneously, and most the cousins my age did their thing in the service in some way. I say all this so you understand, if I thought for one second the Az law was to appease bigots or solely to gain wealth do you honestly think I would entertain the thought of supporting it? Hell to the no. No way.
    and this is not aimed at the honest hard working immigrants just here to earn a wage to feed their families. You know one can separate the groups. republicans and Dems alike have failed us, we should have immigration reform, temporary worker and bracero programs as they had when I was a kid. Then the trafficking of humans is greatly impacted, and the government can concentrate on the bad guys, the law breakers and use our limited resources far more effectively. From a business standpoint it is sound.

    Also sound is the opinion that private enterprise can do anything better and more cost effective that the government. Jesus, look at fed-ex and UPS then look at the post office.
    this includes prisons, and schools, privately we can do better. Look at the success of charter schools, released from the thumb of the government though not quite privately owned they are free to create successful learning institutes. My granddaughter goes to a charter.

    The point I wanted to make, this Az law exists already. I have read it...yep how can one speak about something they have not read? I do not rely on talking points. In my assessment there are 2 areas that render it unlawful though it can be effective without those and really inconsequential to the big picture. Obama could have said "Az we hear you we will come in a do our job, you will not need this law" but he sued them instead. My family is effected in Az, SoCAl and Tx. We are there up close and personal. This is not targeting honest, hardworking folks such as Juan the guy that cuts the lawn. he does not do the crime, he wants to be low key and live as such. It is the law breaker, the kidnappers, extortionist the ones trafficking and they want a jump on any spillover. That is what this is about. A cry for help. At my homes all of my staff are legal. Two became US citizens and all pay taxes. I report their wages to the IRS. They come from Mx. Costa Rica, Malaysia all speak English and all have been with us for many years. The only exception is for some reason at two of my homes my landscapers are white European a fact me and my family get a chuckle about that ..there is a white guy digging the brown girls flower beds.
    I ignore radicalism, the far right and the far left I am in the middle to keep my mind open, I vote mostly republican. Bottom line I do not walk around using excuses, If a police officer wants to see my ID in a legal stop I am willing to oblige, it is silly and self righteous not to.

  25. Gees...

    I love some of the regular bloggers at the BB.... ...but, despite being well intentioned, sometimes we can become confused about the intent of these laws and Latino's role giving them undeserved legitimacy. These laws, like the sedition laws, are designed to sound like a great idea but have designs to hurt, abuse and to coerce. They are an iron fist that's covered in the veneer of reasonableness and lawfullness: who's not for enforcing the law, right? The conservatives are so reasonable that they've even convinced some pretty good people on the BB of how logical it is to hate. Not overtly, but behind the cover of "the law." They lie.

    Where's the crime wave? ...nothing but a tick up or a tick down on one poll or another... There is no CRISIS! Only a manufactured one.

    ...what there is is a wave of brown that's growing beyond the majority's control...

    ...and to that other blogger that advocates climbing the band-wagon with all the other states:

    Like the useless abortion laws or referendums on the ballot in many of the red states in 2004, the laws and referendums to do something about immigration serve the right's purpose of bringing out the idiot voters for the anti-immigration laws. Its a parlor trick you fall for every time...cuz deep down inside you are a lemming.

  26. @6:57 pm
    thank you. great comment. i love the fact that everyone has an opinion and what a boring world this would be if we all agreed but read beyond the lines people.

    jan brewer established a law that puts communities "of color" in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government officials "to determine" if a person is "illegally" in the united states based on a "reasonable suspicion". this is racial profiling at it's finest.

    i understand that the officer cannot make a reasonable judgement until their is "lawful contact". but the law also states that violating federal immigration law is now a state crime as well. so just being illegal already makes you a criminal.

    this law also undermines the constitution and allows local police to have federal authority. it gives the police too much power that they already have.

    im telling you, and i mean this with no offense to white people. but i believe that this governor is a bias white republican who is trying to get rid of brownie. she's trying to clean the streets of brown people. sounds absurd does'nt it?

  27. This "private" Corrections Corportion of America, who runs prisons, depends on taxpayer money to fund itself. We have to start rethinking our prison system and certainly building one to house illegal women and children is absurd. Deportation is enough.

    Sometimes I wonder how much the public delves into these government politicians who secretly meet with corporations to court favors--which is what this amounts to.

    That said, the Arizona law is just a restatement of the laws already on the books which our cowardly politicians are afraid to enforce.

  28. even the police themselves said that this would create many more problems. they were saying that this law was unnecessary. how are we going to afford to jail all of these illegal immigrants? this could cost billions of dollars that we just dont have. and who's going to pay for all of this? the taxpayers. arizona is not a city that is on the brink of destruction caused by bad illegal aliens. that is pure-white-collar-republican-propaganda.

  29. and the sad thing is, that juan the lawnmower guy has got to keep it "low-key" from this point on or else his ass gets deported back to "disneyland".

  30. ajulio

    Come on man you know I love you, I just think you need to open your mind a bit and not see black and white. Instead of a defeatist attitude why say poor Juan has to keep it low key or be sent back? Why not stand up and say

    "Dear President Obama you promised us immigration change, change we can believe in, we want you to keep your promise and not fail us as those that came before you did. We do not want you to waste the money we busted our asses for on suing a state of the union, we want you to do your job so states will not feel the need to do yours for you. We want reform. We do not fear the honest hard working guy that risks his life to come to EL Norte to work hard to send money back to a country that offers few choices for people of his class. Create reform so that these workers will be protected from extortionist and coyotes. This can be done and protect the interests of the US citizens at the same time. We can have temporary worker programs and bracero programs, where workers and citizens are safer and accounted for, and held accountable to and pay taxes. We have nothing against those poor folks and to be honest Mr. President history tells us that we NEED these workers, now more than ever with communications and techonolgy creating a tiny planet that has become agressively competative econonomically. These are not the people we fear, we actually fear for them and scream againsst the injustice they receive at the hands of those who use them to their advantage, for whatever their needs may be, extortion, prostitution, drugs. We want you to create an environment so these folks can stay here temporarily to work... but it is the other guys we fear, those that do horrific things in their own country and will eventually began here, and it is better to prepare for that day even if that day never comes."

    Ajulio...the Mx president says we need to keep the law breaking Mx that commit crimes in our country as to not give more problems in Mx. Think about that. Why should we? as for jails, if you do a crime the time is a must no matter where your country of origin is, or why have a judicial system in the first place? Most will simply be deported and it is cost effective to keep them locked in rather than resources to chase them down. It is a proven fact. but this is not about economics, is it? of course not. It is about safety. Do I think some racists are backing this? of course I do, do I think it is the majority? Hell no. I know the how Az citizens feel I know the people this is effecting, the other states have no clue and are trying to decide for them. Our democracy is set up to give certain autonomy for states, it should be that way it is so that each state can create an environment free of federal intervention, they leave it up to the voters.

    But I think you miss the point. This law is already in effect on the federal level. It is no different. Az really does not want to have to do this as it does add cost and resources, they would rather the feds do their job.

    it really boils down to that simple fact.

  31. Az Law new ruling tonight lifts ban to ask for papers..however still must turn those w/o to proper authorities

    and for you Cali folks..did you know we have a law on the books indentical to Az Law? it is 8346 of the California Penal Code full text on this link:

    & this for good measure

    keeping it real..

  32. There is a say back in the country I come from: When you want to kill a dog, you accuse the dog of being rabid. The assertion that criminality is high in AZ is simply false, fact is that crime rate is worse in many northern states, as well as here in FL. But if AZ wants to get rid of migrants, they just accuse them of being responsible for everything illegal.

    The AZ law will not fix anything, it is already gutted. And do folks in AZ really want to foot the bill for more LE agents and prisons? Who are we kidding here, they want more taxes?

    Now, back to the immigration issue: the nursery I get my plants from is employing immigrants, from MX and central America. Most of them illegals, it's don't ask don't tell (what a great American invention!) and pay in cash. The reason is very simple: they cannot find anyone legal to do the job, way too hard under the sun and for a meager pay. Same in the sugar industry north of the glades (big corporates do the same than small businesses) and the vegetable farms in central FL. You will see trailers with 2 dozens of browned face guys living in each one and surviving on beans. The money goes back to their families.

    When will Americans take a look on what is done successfully in other countries and take it from there instead of enacting laws they can't enforce or just sitting on their fat ass doing nothing?

  33. Matanzas

    its sad to me that you did not read the law, nor the amt of police ready, willing and able to enforce it and how it must be within legal parameters. We can separate the honest from the bad. this is nothing more than what exists federally and in california as well. but in cali...they sure are keeping it quiet. you r wrong that we can not find people to work for the low china they are paid 75 cents per day...that is why we can not longer speak in terms of domestic economics we have to factor in global shinkage. that will not change. So we can have temp worker programs for service employment and other measures but the sad reality is Mx want to stay in Mx they simply can not survive without possibilties. They should be a fully developed wealthy country with its natural resources but corruption has prevented that. I myself tried to move some business there and gave up in 3 years I sold everything for one dollar just to get the hell out. it is immpossible to conduct a fair honest business there. and until that occurrs mexican people have no choice but to do what my buelitos did over 100 years ago forge to El Norte.

  34. Yeah Buela, that's the sad story. Mexico is a social mess. But you can't prevent folks from moving on the greener side of the border. As you said, your folks made the move 100 years ago, a good time to move north. Smart folks. No populist jerks looking for election up north then.
    Can't we just agree that drug/migrant supply will meet demand, and if you can't curb demand, we have to make supply legit? In my opinion, MX should franchise a couple of cartels for trading to the US, and get rid of the parasitic thug organizations in MX. Calderon is dead wrong, and his mistake is taking MX down the drain towards a failed state status like Guatemala. For what? For who? These are the real questions.
    BTW, have you read "Enrique's journey"? A very good book.

  35. Buela.... I am the Mexican loving American who is Latina at heart, believing that ONLY JESUS Christ is the answer for better hearts to change the bad things and make a great nation, just as the Bible states, and is where and why this country has had it's blessing...that I hope we don't lose....God is definitely watching our heart attitudes....and the other thing.... I LOVE YOUR DOS CENTAVOS!!!! ....and agree something stinks.... a little afraid of the Az law, but after reading Borderlandbeat .... I understand more .... my heart IS with the people who are good in Mexico and deserve better in their own country (I used to go to a small village and spend days with women in a village where the men were off to the US working on agri visas...precious people...hard workers here too....we have helped several families try to get their papers if they can qualify....and amnesty is not a gift, it is only an opportunity to begin the long process IF you qualify!...sometimes ten years to finish the process and up to 10,000. dollars over all ...but they have done it and endured it to completion ....good people that work hard and would be awesome Americans someday...also they have some rich heritage of family that we have lost....and when they worship Jesus, it is the real thing...not churchianity or empty traditions!! They are "natural" capitalists...and most I know are never lazy, but will work three jobs because of the opportunity!!! I like the way you think....

  36. well buela i will admit, you do your homework always. that is true, the illegal that gets arrested should go to jail the way an american would. why would the arizona judicial system show any liniency for an illegal to begin with. an important point you mentioned is that both the republicans and democrats are responsible for this law and the controversies it has created. both of these parties need to establish better relationships. i believe that republicans are more to blame for the communication breakdown. but most importantly, i agree with your comment on creating sanctuary laws for the good immigrants. your way of thinking is very diplomatic.

    ive read your comments lately. you have a unique way of writing but your comments are honest. you are right, no one can outwork a mexican worker and mexicans provide excellent work for cheap.

    i wanted to correct myself. earlier i said that the second most popular american surname was garcia and that the most popular was johnson. but here is the actual list: 1.smith 2.johnson 3.williams 4.brown 5.jones 6.miller 7.davis 8.GARCIA 9.RODRIGUEZ 10.wilson 11.MARTINEZ

    shows how much latinos have grown as a people and how we keep growing. cant wait for our first latino president. i will definitely have a shot of tequila when that day happens.

  37. hey! what the hell happened to smurf? he's the one that started all of this shit! J/K

  38. buela i remember one time you mentioned that BB readers should make donations to borderland beat but i didnt think much of it. today i was on the front page and i found the donations button and made my first donation to these guys. it was a little one but i will continue to make donations to BB. these guys do this for nothing. it really is a privilage for us to have this blogsite.

  39. Ajulio

    Thank you for remembering! I think others will follow and a little now and then is a way we can help. Other sites go after big advertisers and hopefully BB can in the future, to me it shows their heart they simply want to get the word out especially to english speakers. WE NEED BB!

  40. @
    Anon 10:23 AM
    I don't get into the stats as you can find them to support any opinion, here is why; the FBI-DOJ-ICE all use stats from major cities proper. In other words PHOENIX is counted but the horrifically violent burbs of Phoenix is not. I really don't go there in commentary, I go by the collection of data in the outlining violent areas which is public but takes some work to access.

    as for the relevance of Smurf's article...and AJUILO I love you comment "hey where's Smurf?" this is a thought provoking necessary subject I would not care if Al Sharpton wrote it, it open a necessary dialog. Why? The Relevance? If you have to ask you are out of touch w/our border states. It is not a question of if the spillover happens it is all about fighting from an offensive position rather than defensive. Be prepared, crime that we never saw before is happening. If there were no cartels, was no violence, beheadings, extortions, human trafficking, drugs etc then the Az law would not even be an issue...but it is VERY relevant. We can not change the situation if we concentrate on the blood, gore, beheadings and killings alone. We must study the big picture

    Bottom line? the law is a good one, it already exists in some states and on the federal level. If Az fucks with the rights of people, all people, they will be held accountable. PERIOD. but this is written for suspected law breakers not abiders.


    I LOVE Enriques Story!! It originally began as a series in LA times. a true story that I went through boxes of tissues over! I heard HBO picked it up. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a insight to the plight of the C.A. migrant.
    BUT MANTANZA; Yes, my Abuelitos left Mx 100 yrs ago, but my buelos left 5 brothers behind (combined) and buelas left 7 combined. Their offspring remain in Mx today, few crossed over. We are in Jalisco,Vera Cruz, Sonora (Hermosillo-Guaymas-San Luis, DF & Chiapas. I proudly say we have 16 Mx professors in our fam, most at the university level. All our passionate about their homeland.


    I enjoy your passion and respect your ability to disagree but keep an open mind and act in a respectful manner to those who have a different opinion. Most of my Cal friends are liberals, all of my Tx friends are conservative. It is an interesting dynamic when I at either during an election. But one thing every one agrees on, as we live in border states, is the cartels have Mx on the ropes and it is a daunting task trying to figure out how to help. a helpless perhaps hopeless scenario.

    @ Julio
    When Obama was elected I was watching FOX when it declared he was our new president. I saw Juan WIlliams choked with emotion, tears streaming down his face, and I felt empathetic and envious, thinking that is how I would feel if it were the first Mx-Am US president! He would be a child or grandchild or great grandchild of Mx immigrants. and I would cry and be profoundly emotional.

    BUT UNLESS THAT FIRST MEXICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT was the best candidate for the job for ALL persons, I may have that quila toast with you but he would have been elected without my vote.

  41. I still stand firm on my opinion. This law is bad. It is racial profiling and needs to be stopped. Everyone is prujudiced to some degree but to keep making laws that judge minorities is wrong. They don't make these laws towards white people. If they did it would cause hysteria. With that said, i respect everyones opinion. And i now see both sides with a clearer understanding.


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