In her latest right-wing cheerleading routine, former Alaska Governor/Tea Party Squad Captain, Sarah Palin, shook her political pompoms for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at a press conferences defending Arizona’s controversial immigration law (SB 1070). Palin, who appeared shoulder to shoulder with Gov. Brewer on Saturday, used the opportunity to take a few pot shots at President Obama, repeat the words “illegal immigration” and “borders,” and wag her finger around. The event was dedicated to the launch of Brewer’s new website, “Secure the Border,” which features “East Coast media” gotcha tactics, Sarah Palin’s face, drug and kidnapping statistics and a bevy of ridiculous headlines designed to equate the words “immigrants” and “criminal.” For all its mavericky-ness, however, Gov. Brewer and her new website still fail to explain how Arizona’s law will help solve our immigration problems, target drug-smugglers or end violent crime along the border.
After weeks of negative press, calls for boycotts, and talk of legal challenges to Arizona’s law, Gov. Brewer is on the defensive—as evidenced by trotting out Sarah Palin to launch a new website. For the most part, Palin used Arizona’s controversy as a soap box for her Tea Party talking points—Washington: broken, President: bad, Sarah: good.
It’s time for Americans across this great country to stand up and say ‘We’re all Arizonans now and, in clear unity, we say, ‘Mr. President, do your job, secure our border!’
The website—a virtual treasure trove of Palin trademarks—features a string of gratuitous, cherry-picked news articles which paint a picture of undocumented immigrants as drug-smuggling, child-stealing murderers. (Immigrants you say? Not in my back yard!) The website also features an article about Attorney General Eric Holder at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in which Holder admits to glancing, not reading, the Arizona law. Gotcha! Wait, how does that help me understand how Arizona’s law is good for America?
More importantly, however, the website trumpets a new report, The Arizona-Mexico Border: An Update, prepared by the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN). The report points to the need for targeted law-enforcement efforts directed against criminal gangs that smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants into Arizona from Mexico, and smuggle guns from Arizona back into Mexico. Yet there is nothing in that report which suggests that a broad-based anti-illegal-immigrant measure such as SB 1070 is a useful crime-fighting tool. The report actually portrays illegal immigrants as being among the primary victims of the kidnappings in Phoenix which have garnered so much media attention recently.
While Sarah Palin and Governor Brewer’s new website do a bang-up job of pointing out that crime exists along the border and that undocumented immigration is a problem, it neglects to explain how Arizona’s law will help solve our immigration problems. That’s because SB 1070 doesn’t. All the finger-pointing, immigrant-baiting and pandering in the world doesn’t make up for the fact that the only real solution to undocumented immigration is reforming our entire immigration system.
Seth Hoy is a Communications and Research Associate at the Immigration Policy Center. Previous to joining IPC, Mr. Hoy worked at an academic publishing company and more recently as a staff writer/reporter for a city paper in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he covered multiple beats. Mr. Hoy has also volunteered as an educator in China and the Marshall Islands through Harvard University’s WorldTeach program. In addition to teaching students, Mr. Hoy organized and staffed professional development workshops for local educators. He received his B.A. in English with a minor in German from Boston College in 2003.