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Pearce’s contempt for immigration attorneys misplaced

In response to Sen. Russell Pearce’s claims in the Arizona Capitol Times (May 17, 2010, “Trespassing law may turn more illegal immigrations into citizens”) that immigration attorneys ‘tie up the system or play games” or “fabricate and exaggerate issues” in immigration court proceedings, he grossly exaggerates our ability to manipulate a well-established, yet arguably broken immigration judicial system.

However, Pearce does not exaggerate the contempt he holds for those charged with representing immigrants in a system specifically designed to afford the two things that he and the flawed S1070 legislation desperately seek to take from them: due process of law and their dignity.

Pearce’s comments are offensive and meritless at best as I suspect he has never stepped foot inside an immigration courtroom, much less taken the time to understand the complex dynamics of immigration, steeped in our nation’s history, beyond his myopic and dangerous “deport them all” non-solution mentality.

At worse, his comments evince a callous and ignorant nature toward the decent men and women with the audacity to serve immigrants in Arizona’s hostile political climate. All this begs the question: If Senator Pearce has such a low opinion of immigration attorneys, enough so to utter irresponsible and baseless claims, how does he truly feel about the human beings we are sworn to defend?

I do not exaggerate to say I am proud member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), an organization that adheres to the highest ethical standards in the legal representation of immigrants physically present in the U.S.

It is not an exaggeration when I say that our role in this ongoing legal and social debate is critically important now more than ever. I do not exaggerate when I say that AILA immigration attorneys will continue to stand up for those who are continually beat down in Arizona. Lastly, I do not exaggerate when I say that we will continue to provide zealous representation to immigrants in court proceedings, with or without Pearce or S1070, until the U.S. Congress and President Obama accept comprehensive immigration reform as the true solution to this dilemma.

Should these basic notions of fairness offend Pearce, I strongly urge him to consult with his attorney before he speaks of issues he knows little to nothing about.

Gerald E. Burns is an attorney and the chairman of the Arizona Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.


  1. The contempt many people feel towards members of AILA is well deserved. These illegal aliens are nothing more than cash cows for these lawyers, many who would be forced to work as clerks in department stores if they did not choose to sell out our country and culture in return for the fees they manage to collect from the illegals and those who support them.

    One only has to perform minimal research to confirm the significant number of immigration attorneys who have been prosecuted/incarcerated for fraud including falsifying records, smuggling, and other illegal acts involving illegal aliens.

    Should these facts offend Gerald Burns, I strongly urge him to consult newspapers and D.A.s records across the country before he presents immigration attorneys as noble Vs the less than stellar human beings we all know they are. These attorneys who should be upholding our laws are most often the same most guilty of either violating our laws or assisting illegal aliens in doing the same.

  2. attorneys were can i start! anyway not only are the illegals cash cows for the lairs so is everybody else that seeks there help. These are American made but, lets keep these and get rid of the hard workers. I know that they are not all hard works some do break the law just as you have done. I do not understand how do two wrongs make a right. I know you are exempt because you are American. HA!

  3. As a 51 year old white male that has been in Arizona since 1985, I look at it this way as a simple solution and the only logical way to address this Issue of what to do about it.
    My Voice is as follows: I am opposed to the “rounding up” that the sheriff does here. Crime Sweeps are one thing but to target illegals is a waste of money and manpower. Target Crime, Gangs, Robbery, Drugs, Those are much more important to me than an illegal family trying to make a living.
    Seal the borders. that is it, stop the flow of drugs, money and weapons back and forth and the crime will drop like an Arizona House Value! Make it a Secure Border.
    The Illegals already here will be dealt with thru attrition as follows.
    Law abiding and been here for a few years: Register and apply for nationalization with the proper agency, Learn English, be productive by getting a job and live Legal like we all strive to do. Break the Law, go to prison then go back Period.
    Those caught not registered can be processed and deported. Caught back here again without authorization and documentation you do 10 years then get deported. caught again, 20 years. that should be a deterrent.
    If you cut the flow of the illegal entrants, then you can leave the Constitution intact. Not an issue if the traffic is stopped.
    Allow Sponsorship by Citizens. If I want to sponsor an Illegal and ask my Country to allow them to stay then that should accellerate the paperwork. Stand Up for our neighbors that are part of our Community. Stop the division amongst the people. We can all get along if we just each do our part.
    If someone breaks the law then Bookem, but stop the witch hunts and Fix the darn problems. Stop the flow and the problem ceases to be an emergency.
    Just my thought whether you agree or not.
    One additional point I wish to make.
    Please increase the penalties for anyone caught in possession of a gun that should not have one.
    any felon or prohibitied possessor should receive a mandatory 10 year flat sentence for the gun. If it was used in a crime in any manner, a minimum of 20 years BAM! thats it, JUST FOR THE GUN, any other crimes are in addition but that mjeans if I cant carry a gun and I’m dumb enough to carry a gun then I am willing to pay dearly for it.
    Leave Legal simple handguns and rifles alone, Let the Citizens have theirs. If you want to risk the chance, pay the price.
    Have a Great Day

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