This weekend, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, California senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina indicated that she’s not very worried about the effect that her support of Arizona’s immigration law, SB-1070, will have on her relationship with Latino voters. Fiorina instead pointed out that she has received a “large number” of endorsements from the Latino community and that the Latinos she has talked to have suggested that the immigration debate boils down to “criminals crossing the border”:
WALLACE: On illegal immigration, you support the Arizona crackdown — the new law in Arizona. What do you say to those Latino voters — and that’s a big voting bloc in California who say this is going to lead to racial profiling?
FIORINA: I am very proud of the large number of Hispanic endorsements I’ve received. When I talk with member of the Latino community…what they say to me is, you know what, this is a question of criminals crossing the border. The truth is this: the federal government isn’t doing its job. It’s the federal goverment’s job to secure the border. The Obama administration has defunded securing the border. And while Barbara Boxer stands up and challenges the constitutionality of the Arizona law and villifies the people of Arizona, what she should be doing — what I’d be doing — is figuratively standing on the President’s desk and saying “Mr. President, the federal government needs to do its job and secure the border.”
However, now that the GOP primaries are over, Fiorina may want to take a closer look. While the nation as a whole is largely divided on SB-1070, Latino voters overwhelmingly oppose it. Polling by the Associated Press and Univision revealed that 66 percent of Latino voters think the Arizona law “goes too far in dealing with the issue of undocumented immigrants” and 73 percent think it should be a minor offense, rather than a serious criminal offense, to enter and remain in the United States without proper documentation. Meanwhile, 86 percent favor providing undocumented immigrants with a path to legalization. Fiorina has stated that “[i]t isn’t time to have that conversation” on legalizing immigrants through comprehensive immigration reform.
Fiorina has instead maintained that “You don’t need comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border.” Yet, contrary to what she suggested on Fox News Sunday, the Obama administration has actually spent more on immigration enforcement and border security than the previous administration. Spending for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) increased from fiscal year 2002, at almost $7.5 billion, to fiscal year 2010 over $17 billion.
Even during a year of cutbacks, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “DHS escaped the budgeting process unscathed” in 2011. In February, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled a $56.3 billion budget for 2011 for which immigration enforcement and securing the southwest border are two of the its main components. Given that crime statistics reveal that the border is already reportedly “safer now than it’s ever been,” Fiorina would probably “figuratively” look a little silly standing on President Obama’s desk screaming about it.
In terms of the “large number of Hispanic endorsements” that Fiorina boasts of, Wonk Room could only identify one Latino group on her website, Hispanic 100, and less than a handful of Latino local elected officials who have come out in support of her candidacy. Her opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), has so far been endorsed by the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), the Mexican American Bar Association (MABA), and the Chicano Democratic Association (San Diego), along with several Latino officials on the local and state level.
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