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Welcome to the team, Mr. Goddard

Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Terry Goddard, recently wrote in The Arizona Republic that we need to go on the offensive to fight border crime and solve the problem of illegal immigration now.

After years of opposing the fight against illegal immigration here in Arizona, I was shocked to read the editorial, which had him sounding like a border hawk. On behalf of everyone who has fought illegal immigration for decades, welcome to the team.

Goddard has a long history of opposing the fight against illegal immigration, beginning with his opposition to Proposition 200, Protect Arizona Now. The voter initiative required state and local government agencies administering “state and local public benefits that are not federally mandated” to verify the immigration status of applicants for benefits and report any discovered violations to federal immigration authorities.

After Arizona voters overwhelming approved Prop. 200 in 2004, Goddard responded as attorney general with a non-binding legal opinion which concluded that Prop. 200 did not apply to Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System benefits or many other state programs, but applied only to those programs within Title 46 of the Arizona Revised Statutes that qualify as state and local public benefits pursuant to federal law.

Goddard’s decision effectively gutted the law and allowed Governor Janet Napolitano and state agencies to continue providing benefits to illegal immigrants and not require them to report immigration violations to the federal government.

By giving state agencies legal cover to continue to provide myriad benefits to illegal immigrants, the welcome mat remained out on our border and illegal immigrants poured into Arizona in unprecedented numbers. The attorney general’s erroneous opinion was not reversed and, as a result, agencies were required to comply with the law until Governor Jan Brewer came to office in 2009.

Unfortunately, Goddard’s actions in 2004 sent a message to the drug lords in Mexico. It was business as usual in Arizona. Drug cartels fought to gain control over all illegal border activities, and now it has reached the point that they control the border. Drugs and illegal immigration amount to an estimated $50 billion a year business for the cartels. Unfortunately for Arizona, our border is defined by murders, kidnappings and illegal immigrants who carry drugs. Yes, we have quite a reputation.

Now the perennial Democrat candidate for governor wants to do something about it. After first opposing SB1070, he came out and said he could defend it. Then, after Judge Susan Bolton imposed a temporary injunction on portions of the legislation until further legal arguments are heard, he trumpeted his support for her findings.

The judge’s actions have temporarily stopped implementation of portions of the law. What she did not stop was the right of the police to question individuals about their immigration status. This is the most critical part of SB1070, because it ends the sanctuary status of many cities in Arizona.

For years, cities such as Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler and Tucson have had policies precluding officers from questioning individuals about their immigration status during routine stops. Now, SB1070 prohibits our cities from having a policy which stops law enforcement agencies from ascertaining legal status.

I appreciate Goddard’s call for the president and Congress to hit the Mexican drug cartels with force. No doubt, after the president and the Democrats in Congress stopped clapping for Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s condemnation of Arizona, Goddard thought they would listen to his advice. Not likely, as the federal government continues to take no serious action at the border.

President Obama has made it clear that any solution to the immigration problem will include amnesty for the 15 to 20 million who are here illegally. Elected Republicans in Arizona reached this conclusion years ago and decided to act instead of standing around passively complaining that this is a federal government problem. They went on the offensive and, with the help of the voters and Brewer, Arizona now has numerous laws to curb illegal immigration.

What candidate Goddard won’t acknowledge is the strategy is working, through attrition; illegal immigrants are leaving Arizona, going back to their country of origin or to other states that continue to welcome them.

What is becoming clearer to many Americans is the federal government is not good at solving problems. No one needs look any further than the tea parties to understand our frustrations. The failure to secure our borders is just one example. Goddard’s renewed call for the feds to do their job is election-year political rhetoric and nothing more. He will continue to support the Democrats’ amnesty-first position.

-Randy Pullen

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