Recently, five bills dealing with various aspects of immigration failed to be approved by the Arizona Senate. One of these bills contained provisions requiring hospital emergency room workers to verify citizenship. This and other provisions contained in the defeated bills would have certainly raised constitutionality questions at a time when the state is already burdened with federal litigation.
Majority Whip Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, and a group of Republican senators who opposed the bills were immediately attacked by far-right anti-immigration zealots. Some have even suggested recalling these senators, accusing them of being R.I.N.O.s, or “Republicans in name only.”
The absurdity of this brings to mind the well-worn image of “stacking deck chairs on the Titanic.” At a time when Arizona is facing monumental budget issues and millions of dollars of potential costs defending SB1070, one wonders about the motivations of such actions.
Virtually all would agree that comprehensive immigration reform is needed, but a piecemeal approach that is both divisive and ineffectual does more harm than good.
Border security should begin at the border. Reform should be wide-ranging and effective. It should include broad provisions to permit hard-working laborers to come under the umbrella of legitimacy that would offer not amnesty, but accountability that would enhance the security and economy of the country.
Those on the far right, like those on the far left, only marginalize themselves with aspirations of political purity. It does not exist. This is what Ronald Reagan was inferring when he spoke of a “big tent.”
Any efforts to expel perceived moderates from the Republican political process will most certainly disenfranchise the mainstream and independent base required to forward a Republican agenda in 2012. How ironic it would be if infighting and purist bickering led to an Obama victory with the almost certain amnesty that would follow.
Pierce has been a stalwart advocate for the citizens he represents and votes his conscience in a well-reasoned and non-partisan manner.
– Dennis Miller, Prescott