Political Parties Pressured on Immigration
By RON FOURNIER AP Political Writer
WASHINGTON Mar 30, 2006 (AP)— Arizona’s
leaders are in a tizzy over immigration, pressured by political
crosswinds that reflect the growing national debate over how to control
Republicans are bashing Republicans. The Democratic governor is in cahoots with a GOP senator. Both parties fear voter backlash.
Bordering Mexico, Arizona may be the perfect spot to show the state of policy and politics of U.S. immigration.
In a word, it’s a mess.
“You’ll find every view in Arizona,” jokes Rep. Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican from Mesa.
In the House, he has backed the approach of the state’s most notable
politician, GOP Sen. John McCain, who wants to give illegal immigrants
a clear path to citizenship through work.
McCain’s position puts him on the side of President Bush and the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many prominent Democrats, including
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and liberal icon Sen. Edward Kennedy of
Arizona’s junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, also wants to help the
estimated 11 million illegal immigrants remain in the United States
legally, but his approach would make it harder for them. He wants
illegal immigrants to return to their native countries before returning
as so-called guest workers.
Then there is another conservative Arizona lawmaker, Rep. J.D.
Hayworth, who has written a book that proposes building a fence along
the U.S.-Mexico border, using armed forces to help patrol the region
and denying citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal
There is unanimity on one point in Arizona: illegal immigration is a major problem.
The state is the largest gateway for illegal immigrants, accounting
for 54 percent of the 1.1 million apprehensions nationwide during the
2004 fiscal year. It is home to an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants
out of the state’s population of about 6 million, a costly drag on
health care, education and law enforcement budgets.