Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 23, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Arizona's Border Crisis: A HORIZON Specia


  • Illegal immigration has become the current hot political issue. Hear from political analysts Bob Robb and Alfredo Gutierrez about how the issue of immigration affects political decisions and how it will become one of the biggest issues of the 2006 state elections.
Guests:
  • Bob Robb - Arizona Republic columnist
  • Alfredo Gutierrez - former gubernatorial candidate and lawmaker


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," ever since Proposition 200 illegal immigration's importance as a political issue has grown. We'll talk about that. Plus, a look at innovative way employers can prevent hiring people who are in the country illegally, and you'll hear about two plans in Congress to create guest workers programs. More on those subjects next on "Horizon." Good evening. Welcome to "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Tonight we wrap up our four-part series on illegal immigration, Arizona's border crisis, by talking about how immigration has been a hot political topic. Mike Sauceda tells us more about that issue.

>> Mike Sauceda:
When Republican representative Ray Barnes ran for the state house in 2002 he ran on a federal issue he would only be able to address in an indirect manner, illegal immigration.

>> Ray Barnes:
Well, I was told when I ran, Mike, that I should not use secure the borders. I was the first one to put out literature secure the borders and somebody told me, don't do that because that gets people riled up. Well, I had an idea of what the district was standing for, and I said, no, I says, this is a problem, thanks problem in the district, and I was the first one, I think, to put on my literature pro secure the borders. It paid off. I think that was one of the things that got some attention. I was expecting flak. But I never really got it.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Illegal immigration is an issue that constituents in his district, District 7 in the Northeast Valley, deal with on a daily basis. It's also an issue that is on the mind of most politicians in this state, especially after the passage of Proposition 200 in 2004 by a margin of 56-44\%.

>> Ray Barnes:
I think the major push this year has been because of the passage of Proposition 200. I think people have gotten more gutsy now that they have seen they've got a 55\%, you know, that they can count on. So that, yeah, I think that Proposition 200 helped put an awful lot of immigration bills on there.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Proposition 200 was designed to make it tougher for illegal immigrants to get certain government benefits and makes it harder for them to vote. During this past legislative session, numerous bills were introduced to expand Prop 200. Do lawmakers think about illegal immigration as a political issue when they propose legislation? Barnes, whose adopted daughter is a legal immigrant from Haiti, says that's not the case for him.

>> Ray Barnes:
I'm sure it's there somewhere. That's not the thing I go down to the house for today is, how many Mexicans am I going to get? No, that isn't in my mind. I haven't introduced any bills about the legislation, legislation concerning the immigrants. Two years ago, and one year ago, I did put in some legislation to set up a patrol under the Department of Public Safety that did the same thing as the Minutemen did but it would put it under government control.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Wes Gullett is a political consultant from the firm of Hamilton, Gullet, Davis and Roman in Phoenix. He that says Proposition 200 allowed politicians to grow more bold in their opposition to illegal immigration.

>> Wes Gullett:
There's no question in my mind that the anti-immigration folks were emboldened by prop 200, they were more emboldened when it was at 75\% in favor. A little less emboldened when it was 55.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Gullett says illegal immigration is an important issue for politicians.

>> Wes Gullett:
Because of the frustration, the level of frustration of the voters, they wanted to do something. So if politicians talk about illegal immigration, then they will listen to that, they'll hear it, even if there's nothing that that person can do about illegal immigration, they'll be interested in voting for them because they hear that discussion and that rhetoric coming that from person. Then people want something to happen and when it doesn't happen, frustration gets even higher. So by being disingenuous about you are going to stop illegal immigration or do something about illegal immigration and then you don't makes the voters even more cynical and more frustrated.

>> Mike Sauceda:
In 2006 illegal immigration is expected to be one of the big issues in campaigns. Especially in statewide races such as the race for governor.

>> Wes Gullett:
I don't know if it's going to be the issue. It's definitely going to be one of the top five issues. It really depends on whether or not Congress acts because then people think, well, let's wait and see what happens. But there definitely is a concern. Everybody has an experience with -- a negative experience with illegal immigration. Practically everybody in the state has a positive engagement illegal immigration, they just don't know it, don't realize it or don't want to talk about it.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Barnes thinks the governor does vulnerable because of her vetoes of bills related to Proposition 200.

>> Ray Barnes:
Oh, absolutely. They have the history of proposition 200 and here's another thing also: I think with the amount of people that are voting for Proposition 200 that they also think, well, if we can get the governor to make a stand against these things, it makes her more vulnerable to get defeated in 2006.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about how illegal immigration plays into politics are a couple guy whose live and breathe politics, Arizona Republican -- republic columnist Bob Robb and former gubernatorial candidate and lawmaker Alfredo Gutierrez. Take a moment here and get my mouth fixed. Hello, guys. Okay, the easy question is: is it going to be an issue in 2006, Bob? The tougher question is how big an issue will it be in 2006?

>> Bob Robb:
I think that will depend upon hoot Republican candidate is for governor and the extent to which that candidate decides to make it an issue. Certainly the strategy of the Republican Party at present is to lay the groundwork for it to be a major issue. Assuming that there's a Republican candidate who makes it one, there certainly now are a series of differences on substantive issues with respect to state policy regarding whether we have mostly an accommodative approach to illegal immigration or whether we try to make things less hospitable. So my anticipation is that it will be, and I suspect even if there is federal debate in the passage of federal reform, there will remain those issues of what should state policy be on those things which state government can affect.

>> Michael Grant:
Do we overstate Proposition 200? I mean, is the glass three quarters full, or is it half full it? Started out at about 75\% and by the time you got to November, it was down to 55, 56\%. I mean, do we overblow the thing?

>> Bob Robb:
Well, there's almost an assumption in the debate that everybody has the same side of the argument, and that's not true. There's a vigorous segment of the body politic who believe that we should be accepting of the phenomenon of illegal immigration, that it is a strength ultimately of the community, and that we ought to accept reality and have state policy which accommodates it and tries to cope with it rather than state policy that tries to be inhospitable, which in that view is unrealistic and leads to larger problems. So I think that there is another side of the issue but I also believe that generally all sides agree that those who want to see the state try to do what it can about illegal immigration have the upper hand politically at this point.

>> Michael Grant:
Can Janet Napolitano maximize the 45 or does she get disabled by the 55?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
It's going to be a tough issue. I don't know the answer to that question. You're going to have -- I think Bob usually is half right, is half right. Look, I think most people view illegal immigration as an issue, as a serious problem, and it isn't a matter of accommodating, it's a matter of how you begin to manage it, how you begin to regulate it, and whether simply doing so in this sort of acts of frustration that I think constitute prop 200 and other similar acts or whether you try and push for comprehensive programs, allow -- ala McCain, there's other approaches, but without some kind of comprehensive program, what you get is these sorts of -- these sorts of angry expressions. Now, this coming year those angry expressions will be on the ballot again. Fair has announced they're coming back with initiatives to ban the matricula consular.

>> Michael Grant:
That's a bill that Governor Napolitano vetoed?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's correct. They're coming back with that. They're coming back with a bill that will empower local police to begin to act as federal agents. Now, it's not as simple as that. That will take some federal agreement. But nonetheless, they're coming back with that, another bill that the governor vetoed and English-only, another bill the governor vetoed. So the issue is going to be before the voters. The hope, I think, by many Republicans is that the issue will be so divisive in the Hispanic community, in the larger community, that it will drive folks away.

>> Michael Grant:
Hispanic community doesn't speak with a unified voice on these subjects.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
No, no, no. I think -- we're talking about the Hispanic community voters, and if you talk about voters, I think that some 35\% -- we won't ever know for sure, but by my estimates, 35, 38\% have voted for Prop 200 and similar initiatives in other states in the past.

>> Michael Grant:
Explain quickly the reasons why.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
Well, I think there's two reasons, two fundamental sorts of thrusts here. One is the sort of third, fourth, fifth generation Hispanics who are, you know, fundamentally Americans and speak English and are not Spanish fluent and view these waves of illegal immigrants as sort of sucking the oxygen out of the room, the issues they want dealt with aren't being dealt with because of this whole issue of illegal immigration.

>> Michael Grant:
This background noise.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's right. And this background noise, this sort of growing hostility against Mexicans is aimed at them, because though they may not speak Spanish, and though they may have had catch up instead of salsa instead of breakfast, they look extraordinarily, Mike, like a Mexican.

>> Michael Grant:
Second group is more the competitive group?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's right. You're talking about legal residents and people who recently became citizens who are working 7 or $8 an hour and feel threatened by people who just arrived and work for 5 and 6.

>> Michael Grant:
Do the Republicans have someone -- the governor obviously, and Alfredo already men examined it, vetoed several immigration-related measures. Do the Republicans have somebody who can turn that into an effective campaign issue?

>> Bob Robb:
Certainly not yet. They're still in search of a candidate.

>> Michael Grant:
I agree with you.

>> Bob Robb:
Now maybe I'll move to half right. I believe that the Republicans will ultimately field a quality candidate who will be able to make an articulate case with respect to what state policy should be regarding illegal immigration. So while at present you can't name a name, certainly if Ken Bennett happened to be the nominee, the Senate president, he is currently capable of making that case quite well and I believe there is a host of others -- as I've said, I think there's an opportunity here for second-tier Republican officials to think about moving quickly to the first tier. I think over the course of the next several months you will see a lot more people taking a look at it than the current cast of characters and the attempt by Republicans to find some marquee name can that compete with Janet Napolitano from day one.

>> Michael Grant:
On the other hand, can the governor turn this issue against the Republicans and say, they're out of touch, they're whacking at the wrong bush, whatever the case may be?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
I think there's -- there's an inherent danger for a Democrat running for governor that this is a Republican state. A Republican candidate will have sort of -- the assumption that they're going to do well, not necessarily win, but they're going to do very well. They present a certain danger. This is obviously an issue that motivates Republicans and divides Democrats. How she can do that, and she will do that is going to be a real challenge, but I think the McCain bill presents an interesting opportunity for those of us who are interested in comprehensive change. You've got a comprehensive bill that includes elements like employer sanctions and national I.D. and all of these elements in it being proposed by easily the most popular elected official, most popular person in the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Incidentally, we're going to provide information on that in just a couple of minutes. We've run out of time. Alfredo Gutierrez, thank you very much for joining.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Bob Robb, always a pleasure. Continuing with our look at immigration tonight, next you'll hear about a federal program that could on its own eliminate much of the problem of people getting jobs with false Social Security numbers. Mike Sauceda tells us how a Phoenix company uses the Internet to instantly check on the validity of Social Security numbers of prospective employees.

>> Mike Sauceda:
For 24 years now, Bar S, a Phoenix-based meat processor, has been making hotdogs, corndogs, bacon, sausage and bologna, in total 250 processed meat and cheese products. For the past few years, Bar S, which has more than 1500 employees in several states, has been using an innovative federal program to make sure their employees are legally entitled to work in the United States. Marty Thompson is division vice-president of human resources at Bar S. His company started using Social Security's basic pilot system to verify the validity of Social Security numbers shortly after it started in 1996.

>> Marty Thompson:
I think we have a obligation as a corporate citizen to follow the law. That's our mission, and we want to be good citizens. On the other side, selfishly, previous to the pilot program, we have had audits by the INS. They have come in and checked our documents, and many times that creates a lot of paper work and a lot of havoc in an environment. Those aren't simple processes. So by doing this, it was our opinion also that we can avoid having to go through those audits.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Bar S is just one of some 100 Arizona businesses using the Internet basic pilot system. Nationwide just over 4,000 companies use it. It is not mandatory but is available nationwide to verify a Social Security number an employer enters basic information about the prospective employee, name, Social Security number, birth date and citizen status. Then the information is sent to Social Security for verification with results coming back almost instantly. If the number is bad, the prospective employee is given a chance to fix the problem.

>> Marty Thompson:
About 8\% of the time that we will ask an employee, potential employee, to take this to the Social Security department, get this correct, and come back and we'll complete the hiring process. If they don't come back, there's a chance that they had a problem with the document and went across the street or down the road to another company. We don't know that. We have had people come back indicating, yes, that was a name change, I forgot, didn't do it, brought them back and we made the hire.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Thompson says the program has helped get word out on the street that Bar S is not a place to apply if you have fraudulent documents.

>> Marty Thompson:
That has been a great help to us early in the program when we first started to work with the pilot program. We probably had about 30\% of the employees that were sent through the Social Security check fall out and had bad documentation. We couldn't hire them. That number is down around 6 to 8\% at this time. The word did get out in the communities in which we hire. That has been the biggest deterrent and that's been very good for us. Now, the other side of that is it doesn't necessarily help us competitively because the companies that don't do that are pulling employees that we can't get. So there's a little bit of hurt to that.

>> Mike Sauceda: There are a couple of problems left even with the system.

>> Marty Thompson: There's two problems we have. Two problems we have with the current system. One is identity theft. That's tough. There is no way we as an employ employer can beat that. The other is the discrepancies that we experience between the INS and Social Security. One of those -- the biggest issue is names. We have a name that is Jones Smith or Gonzalez-Fernandez and the INS will document that one way, Social Security will document another way, switch that. Those two agencies need to get that fixed and get together.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Thompson says Bar S would like to help out the government by reporting fraudulent Social Security numbers.

>> Marty Thompson:
If, for example, we go through the pilot program and we identify someone that did not have the proper papers to work here legally, what do we do with that? We send them to Social Security. We have lost an opportunity for enforcement. I don't want that to be the employer's job to track that person down, but there should be a way through the existing system where that red flag can go up and say, this person does not have the proper documentation. We need to deal with that. I imagine that would be a full-time job for a lot of people to try and regulate that, but the employer can't, and the employer can't be held responsible for that.

>> Michael Grant:
While the Social Security database may help stem the tide of illegal immigrants if it were used more widely, Congress is trying to solve the problem through guest worker programs. Three Arizona lawmakers among those sponsoring one of the bills. Senator John McCain, Congressmnan Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, sponsoring the secure America and orderly immigration act. The bill would create a work visa to allow foreign workers to come into the country if they have a job waiting for them. They would have to pay a $500 fee. The H5A visa would initially be limited to 400,000 people annually. The bill would create another visa, the H5B visa. This visa would allow people here illegally to work for six years. To apply, a worker would have to pay back taxes, a thousand-dollar fine, submit to finger printing and a background check. The worker could apply for permanent legal status but would have to pay another $1,000 fine, undergo more background checks and become proficient in English. The bill would also set up biometric identification cards appeared fines for employers who violated. Meanwhile, Arizona senator Jon Kyl joined a Texas senator in sponsoring another bill. Details concerning the guest worker portion of that bill are expected to be released in July. The Kyl bill would not have a path to permanent residency. It would beef up border security with 10,000 more border patrol agents over the next five years and $2 billion for high-tech surveillance. Earlier I talked to Senator Kyl about his bill. Jose Cardenas talked to Le Templar of the "East Valley Tribune" about the McCain-Kennedy bill. Here are portions of those interviews.

>> Michael Grant:
Senator, give me what you consider to be the key provisions of your immigration bill.

>> Jon Kyl:
I start with the premise, which is that until people are convinced that the government is serious about enforcing the law, they're not going to be very open minded about other things we have to do such as reforming our immigration system and guest worker programs. So we start with the premise that we're going to enforce the law at the border, in the interior and at the workplace, and those three commitments are embodied in Title 1 of our bill which involves strengthening the border patrol, the kind of equipment, the aircraft, the sensors, lighting, all of those things we need to do, the interior enforcement creating a lot more detention space, transportation for the illegal immigrants, the whole court system from lawyers to judges to court space and other requirements of the criminal justice system that are involved here. Then at the workplace a system to ensure that in the future when this is all in place only legal people will be hired.

>> Michael Grant:
How does that employment eligibility system work? How do you envision that working?

>> Jon Kyl:
It has to have several components. First is a commitment to enforce the law. No amnesty. If we're going to allow people to work and return, they have to do it within a legal system. I think that part can be done relatively well because people probably won't want to cheat the system if they're willing to voluntarily come to the United States, work here, and then go back home again. But they will have to have documents that include biometric identification, probably finger prints, that are easily readable by the employers, and a system that's auditable by the U.S. Government. That same kind of system with additional requirements will be necessary for anyone who is here illegally today and permitted to continue to work here at least on a temporary basis. Obviously the purpose here is to ensure that everybody who is here illegally today will become legal, will sign up, will come forth and say, we came here illegally, what are our options. And those options probably include three main things, go home and work in a guest worker program if you want to do that, coming back here, if you want legal permanent residency, you can go home and apply for that. And if you want to stay here, if there's some circumstances that make it hard for you to leave, you've had kids born here or whatever it might be, to have a temporary system for you to maintain your employment here, but in that case, it's not legal permanent residency. Those documents will need to be fraud proof and easily auditable, because what we don't want is a large cohort of people out there who continue to claim that they're U.S. citizens with false driver's licenses and Social Security cards, therefore, who never even bother to obtain this other document.

>> Michael Grant:
I realize the opposition to amnesty, and I think we had a significantly failed experiment with that in the mid-1980s, but the numbers here seem to me to be daunting. They're staggering. How realistic is it to think that affirmatively we're going to migrate 7, 8, 9 million people back over the border?

>> Jon Kyl:
Well, I'm not sure that's the right way to look at it. I envision giving people an option, or really three options. There's both a carrot and a stick here. If you register your illegal entry into the country here, you've got basically three opportunities as I said. A lot of the folks say they just want to come here on a part-time basis and go back home and work. Here's the program for you to do that. Some say, we want to become legal permanent residents of the United States, in other words, over the long haul. Now, that takes a while, could that take five or six years, but that option I don't think should be denied to them, but as the president said, you go home and get in line with everybody else. There may be people, as I said, who it would be a hardship for to exercise either of those other two options who could continue to work here on a temporary basis, and for those people it's got to be pretty clear they don't have the same rights as the people who go home and get legal permanent residents. They wouldn't be able to chain migrate all their family in for example.

>> Michael Grant: What is their incentive to sign on? And by them I mean several million people.

>> Jon Kyl: You get to participate -- all three of those options give you a right to legally participate in our system.

>> Jose Cardenas: Things to distinguish this bill from other versions is the comprehensiveness of it. It's really much more than guest worker isn't it?

>> Le Templar: That's correct. They seem to make an effort to tackle virtually every facet of the immigration issue that's been identified, ranging from border security and employer enforcement to dealing with family issues and not only the person who has a work visa but getting their families here as well, reuniting them, to federal payments for costs related to medical care for immigrants or jailing immigrants who have committed crimes and just -- they've brought all of into it one package and then impressing a lot of people who are involved with immigration issues this time around.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The defenders say the dreaded A word, amnesty, is not there. But that probably depends on whether you're talking to somebody like Jeff Flake or somebody like congressman Hayworth, right?

>> Le Templar:
Exactly. The key issue on amnesty is to reflect back to 1986 where in an effort to recognize the number of immigrants that were in the country at that time, who didn't have legal status, basically we just granted them a blank policy saying if you come in and prove you are not a threat to the community, that you do have an active job or you can get employment, that we'll let you stay here permanently. This time the bill says, you have that same option, but you're going to have to pay back taxes and fines and you're going to have to wait at least six years before you can apply for permanent residency. All you can apply for initially is for that work visa, the 5B visa to have a job and stay for a limited period of time. So the supporters of bill are claiming that's why it's not amnesty because there's no guarantee you're going to get residency, you're going to have to wait a while in order to apply, and you're going to have to -- you're going to have to sacrifice something, pay a fair amount of money up front in order to do it.

>> Michael Grant:
Thank you very much for joining us on this Thursday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

llegal Immigration Solutions


  • Potential solutions to the illegal immigration problem range from shutting down the border to eliminating it altogether. Explore innovative solutions and find out from Senator Jon Kyl about two bills being proposed in Congress for guest worker programs.
Guests:
  • Bob Robb - Arizona Republic columnist
  • Alfredo Gutierrez - former gubernatorial candidate and lawmaker


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," ever since Proposition 200 illegal immigration's importance as a political issue has grown. We'll talk about that. Plus, a look at innovative way employers can prevent hiring people who are in the country illegally, and you'll hear about two plans in Congress to create guest workers programs. More on those subjects next on "Horizon." Good evening. Welcome to "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Tonight we wrap up our four-part series on illegal immigration, Arizona's border crisis, by talking about how immigration has been a hot political topic. Mike Sauceda tells us more about that issue.

>> Mike Sauceda:
When Republican representative Ray Barnes ran for the state house in 2002 he ran on a federal issue he would only be able to address in an indirect manner, illegal immigration.

>> Ray Barnes:
Well, I was told when I ran, Mike, that I should not use secure the borders. I was the first one to put out literature secure the borders and somebody told me, don't do that because that gets people riled up. Well, I had an idea of what the district was standing for, and I said, no, I says, this is a problem, thanks problem in the district, and I was the first one, I think, to put on my literature pro secure the borders. It paid off. I think that was one of the things that got some attention. I was expecting flak. But I never really got it.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Illegal immigration is an issue that constituents in his district, District 7 in the Northeast Valley, deal with on a daily basis. It's also an issue that is on the mind of most politicians in this state, especially after the passage of Proposition 200 in 2004 by a margin of 56-44\%.

>> Ray Barnes:
I think the major push this year has been because of the passage of Proposition 200. I think people have gotten more gutsy now that they have seen they've got a 55\%, you know, that they can count on. So that, yeah, I think that Proposition 200 helped put an awful lot of immigration bills on there.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Proposition 200 was designed to make it tougher for illegal immigrants to get certain government benefits and makes it harder for them to vote. During this past legislative session, numerous bills were introduced to expand Prop 200. Do lawmakers think about illegal immigration as a political issue when they propose legislation? Barnes, whose adopted daughter is a legal immigrant from Haiti, says that's not the case for him.

>> Ray Barnes:
I'm sure it's there somewhere. That's not the thing I go down to the house for today is, how many Mexicans am I going to get? No, that isn't in my mind. I haven't introduced any bills about the legislation, legislation concerning the immigrants. Two years ago, and one year ago, I did put in some legislation to set up a patrol under the Department of Public Safety that did the same thing as the Minutemen did but it would put it under government control.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Wes Gullett is a political consultant from the firm of Hamilton, Gullet, Davis and Roman in Phoenix. He that says Proposition 200 allowed politicians to grow more bold in their opposition to illegal immigration.

>> Wes Gullett:
There's no question in my mind that the anti-immigration folks were emboldened by prop 200, they were more emboldened when it was at 75\% in favor. A little less emboldened when it was 55.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Gullett says illegal immigration is an important issue for politicians.

>> Wes Gullett:
Because of the frustration, the level of frustration of the voters, they wanted to do something. So if politicians talk about illegal immigration, then they will listen to that, they'll hear it, even if there's nothing that that person can do about illegal immigration, they'll be interested in voting for them because they hear that discussion and that rhetoric coming that from person. Then people want something to happen and when it doesn't happen, frustration gets even higher. So by being disingenuous about you are going to stop illegal immigration or do something about illegal immigration and then you don't makes the voters even more cynical and more frustrated.

>> Mike Sauceda:
In 2006 illegal immigration is expected to be one of the big issues in campaigns. Especially in statewide races such as the race for governor.

>> Wes Gullett:
I don't know if it's going to be the issue. It's definitely going to be one of the top five issues. It really depends on whether or not Congress acts because then people think, well, let's wait and see what happens. But there definitely is a concern. Everybody has an experience with -- a negative experience with illegal immigration. Practically everybody in the state has a positive engagement illegal immigration, they just don't know it, don't realize it or don't want to talk about it.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Barnes thinks the governor does vulnerable because of her vetoes of bills related to Proposition 200.

>> Ray Barnes:
Oh, absolutely. They have the history of proposition 200 and here's another thing also: I think with the amount of people that are voting for Proposition 200 that they also think, well, if we can get the governor to make a stand against these things, it makes her more vulnerable to get defeated in 2006.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about how illegal immigration plays into politics are a couple guy whose live and breathe politics, Arizona Republican -- republic columnist Bob Robb and former gubernatorial candidate and lawmaker Alfredo Gutierrez. Take a moment here and get my mouth fixed. Hello, guys. Okay, the easy question is: is it going to be an issue in 2006, Bob? The tougher question is how big an issue will it be in 2006?

>> Bob Robb:
I think that will depend upon hoot Republican candidate is for governor and the extent to which that candidate decides to make it an issue. Certainly the strategy of the Republican Party at present is to lay the groundwork for it to be a major issue. Assuming that there's a Republican candidate who makes it one, there certainly now are a series of differences on substantive issues with respect to state policy regarding whether we have mostly an accommodative approach to illegal immigration or whether we try to make things less hospitable. So my anticipation is that it will be, and I suspect even if there is federal debate in the passage of federal reform, there will remain those issues of what should state policy be on those things which state government can affect.

>> Michael Grant:
Do we overstate Proposition 200? I mean, is the glass three quarters full, or is it half full it? Started out at about 75\% and by the time you got to November, it was down to 55, 56\%. I mean, do we overblow the thing?

>> Bob Robb:
Well, there's almost an assumption in the debate that everybody has the same side of the argument, and that's not true. There's a vigorous segment of the body politic who believe that we should be accepting of the phenomenon of illegal immigration, that it is a strength ultimately of the community, and that we ought to accept reality and have state policy which accommodates it and tries to cope with it rather than state policy that tries to be inhospitable, which in that view is unrealistic and leads to larger problems. So I think that there is another side of the issue but I also believe that generally all sides agree that those who want to see the state try to do what it can about illegal immigration have the upper hand politically at this point.

>> Michael Grant:
Can Janet Napolitano maximize the 45 or does she get disabled by the 55?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
It's going to be a tough issue. I don't know the answer to that question. You're going to have -- I think Bob usually is half right, is half right. Look, I think most people view illegal immigration as an issue, as a serious problem, and it isn't a matter of accommodating, it's a matter of how you begin to manage it, how you begin to regulate it, and whether simply doing so in this sort of acts of frustration that I think constitute prop 200 and other similar acts or whether you try and push for comprehensive programs, allow -- ala McCain, there's other approaches, but without some kind of comprehensive program, what you get is these sorts of -- these sorts of angry expressions. Now, this coming year those angry expressions will be on the ballot again. Fair has announced they're coming back with initiatives to ban the matricula consular.

>> Michael Grant:
That's a bill that Governor Napolitano vetoed?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's correct. They're coming back with that. They're coming back with a bill that will empower local police to begin to act as federal agents. Now, it's not as simple as that. That will take some federal agreement. But nonetheless, they're coming back with that, another bill that the governor vetoed and English-only, another bill the governor vetoed. So the issue is going to be before the voters. The hope, I think, by many Republicans is that the issue will be so divisive in the Hispanic community, in the larger community, that it will drive folks away.

>> Michael Grant:
Hispanic community doesn't speak with a unified voice on these subjects.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
No, no, no. I think -- we're talking about the Hispanic community voters, and if you talk about voters, I think that some 35\% -- we won't ever know for sure, but by my estimates, 35, 38\% have voted for Prop 200 and similar initiatives in other states in the past.

>> Michael Grant:
Explain quickly the reasons why.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
Well, I think there's two reasons, two fundamental sorts of thrusts here. One is the sort of third, fourth, fifth generation Hispanics who are, you know, fundamentally Americans and speak English and are not Spanish fluent and view these waves of illegal immigrants as sort of sucking the oxygen out of the room, the issues they want dealt with aren't being dealt with because of this whole issue of illegal immigration.

>> Michael Grant:
This background noise.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's right. And this background noise, this sort of growing hostility against Mexicans is aimed at them, because though they may not speak Spanish, and though they may have had catch up instead of salsa instead of breakfast, they look extraordinarily, Mike, like a Mexican.

>> Michael Grant:
Second group is more the competitive group?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
That's right. You're talking about legal residents and people who recently became citizens who are working 7 or $8 an hour and feel threatened by people who just arrived and work for 5 and 6.

>> Michael Grant:
Do the Republicans have someone -- the governor obviously, and Alfredo already men examined it, vetoed several immigration-related measures. Do the Republicans have somebody who can turn that into an effective campaign issue?

>> Bob Robb:
Certainly not yet. They're still in search of a candidate.

>> Michael Grant:
I agree with you.

>> Bob Robb:
Now maybe I'll move to half right. I believe that the Republicans will ultimately field a quality candidate who will be able to make an articulate case with respect to what state policy should be regarding illegal immigration. So while at present you can't name a name, certainly if Ken Bennett happened to be the nominee, the Senate president, he is currently capable of making that case quite well and I believe there is a host of others -- as I've said, I think there's an opportunity here for second-tier Republican officials to think about moving quickly to the first tier. I think over the course of the next several months you will see a lot more people taking a look at it than the current cast of characters and the attempt by Republicans to find some marquee name can that compete with Janet Napolitano from day one.

>> Michael Grant:
On the other hand, can the governor turn this issue against the Republicans and say, they're out of touch, they're whacking at the wrong bush, whatever the case may be?

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
I think there's -- there's an inherent danger for a Democrat running for governor that this is a Republican state. A Republican candidate will have sort of -- the assumption that they're going to do well, not necessarily win, but they're going to do very well. They present a certain danger. This is obviously an issue that motivates Republicans and divides Democrats. How she can do that, and she will do that is going to be a real challenge, but I think the McCain bill presents an interesting opportunity for those of us who are interested in comprehensive change. You've got a comprehensive bill that includes elements like employer sanctions and national I.D. and all of these elements in it being proposed by easily the most popular elected official, most popular person in the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Incidentally, we're going to provide information on that in just a couple of minutes. We've run out of time. Alfredo Gutierrez, thank you very much for joining.

>> Alfredo Gutierrez:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Bob Robb, always a pleasure. Continuing with our look at immigration tonight, next you'll hear about a federal program that could on its own eliminate much of the problem of people getting jobs with false Social Security numbers. Mike Sauceda tells us how a Phoenix company uses the Internet to instantly check on the validity of Social Security numbers of prospective employees.

>> Mike Sauceda:
For 24 years now, Bar S, a Phoenix-based meat processor, has been making hotdogs, corndogs, bacon, sausage and bologna, in total 250 processed meat and cheese products. For the past few years, Bar S, which has more than 1500 employees in several states, has been using an innovative federal program to make sure their employees are legally entitled to work in the United States. Marty Thompson is division vice-president of human resources at Bar S. His company started using Social Security's basic pilot system to verify the validity of Social Security numbers shortly after it started in 1996.

>> Marty Thompson:
I think we have a obligation as a corporate citizen to follow the law. That's our mission, and we want to be good citizens. On the other side, selfishly, previous to the pilot program, we have had audits by the INS. They have come in and checked our documents, and many times that creates a lot of paper work and a lot of havoc in an environment. Those aren't simple processes. So by doing this, it was our opinion also that we can avoid having to go through those audits.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Bar S is just one of some 100 Arizona businesses using the Internet basic pilot system. Nationwide just over 4,000 companies use it. It is not mandatory but is available nationwide to verify a Social Security number an employer enters basic information about the prospective employee, name, Social Security number, birth date and citizen status. Then the information is sent to Social Security for verification with results coming back almost instantly. If the number is bad, the prospective employee is given a chance to fix the problem.

>> Marty Thompson:
About 8\% of the time that we will ask an employee, potential employee, to take this to the Social Security department, get this correct, and come back and we'll complete the hiring process. If they don't come back, there's a chance that they had a problem with the document and went across the street or down the road to another company. We don't know that. We have had people come back indicating, yes, that was a name change, I forgot, didn't do it, brought them back and we made the hire.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Thompson says the program has helped get word out on the street that Bar S is not a place to apply if you have fraudulent documents.

>> Marty Thompson:
That has been a great help to us early in the program when we first started to work with the pilot program. We probably had about 30\% of the employees that were sent through the Social Security check fall out and had bad documentation. We couldn't hire them. That number is down around 6 to 8\% at this time. The word did get out in the communities in which we hire. That has been the biggest deterrent and that's been very good for us. Now, the other side of that is it doesn't necessarily help us competitively because the companies that don't do that are pulling employees that we can't get. So there's a little bit of hurt to that.

>> Mike Sauceda: There are a couple of problems left even with the system.

>> Marty Thompson: There's two problems we have. Two problems we have with the current system. One is identity theft. That's tough. There is no way we as an employ employer can beat that. The other is the discrepancies that we experience between the INS and Social Security. One of those -- the biggest issue is names. We have a name that is Jones Smith or Gonzalez-Fernandez and the INS will document that one way, Social Security will document another way, switch that. Those two agencies need to get that fixed and get together.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Thompson says Bar S would like to help out the government by reporting fraudulent Social Security numbers.

>> Marty Thompson:
If, for example, we go through the pilot program and we identify someone that did not have the proper papers to work here legally, what do we do with that? We send them to Social Security. We have lost an opportunity for enforcement. I don't want that to be the employer's job to track that person down, but there should be a way through the existing system where that red flag can go up and say, this person does not have the proper documentation. We need to deal with that. I imagine that would be a full-time job for a lot of people to try and regulate that, but the employer can't, and the employer can't be held responsible for that.

>> Michael Grant:
While the Social Security database may help stem the tide of illegal immigrants if it were used more widely, Congress is trying to solve the problem through guest worker programs. Three Arizona lawmakers among those sponsoring one of the bills. Senator John McCain, Congressmnan Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, sponsoring the secure America and orderly immigration act. The bill would create a work visa to allow foreign workers to come into the country if they have a job waiting for them. They would have to pay a $500 fee. The H5A visa would initially be limited to 400,000 people annually. The bill would create another visa, the H5B visa. This visa would allow people here illegally to work for six years. To apply, a worker would have to pay back taxes, a thousand-dollar fine, submit to finger printing and a background check. The worker could apply for permanent legal status but would have to pay another $1,000 fine, undergo more background checks and become proficient in English. The bill would also set up biometric identification cards appeared fines for employers who violated. Meanwhile, Arizona senator Jon Kyl joined a Texas senator in sponsoring another bill. Details concerning the guest worker portion of that bill are expected to be released in July. The Kyl bill would not have a path to permanent residency. It would beef up border security with 10,000 more border patrol agents over the next five years and $2 billion for high-tech surveillance. Earlier I talked to Senator Kyl about his bill. Jose Cardenas talked to Le Templar of the "East Valley Tribune" about the McCain-Kennedy bill. Here are portions of those interviews.

>> Michael Grant:
Senator, give me what you consider to be the key provisions of your immigration bill.

>> Jon Kyl:
I start with the premise, which is that until people are convinced that the government is serious about enforcing the law, they're not going to be very open minded about other things we have to do such as reforming our immigration system and guest worker programs. So we start with the premise that we're going to enforce the law at the border, in the interior and at the workplace, and those three commitments are embodied in Title 1 of our bill which involves strengthening the border patrol, the kind of equipment, the aircraft, the sensors, lighting, all of those things we need to do, the interior enforcement creating a lot more detention space, transportation for the illegal immigrants, the whole court system from lawyers to judges to court space and other requirements of the criminal justice system that are involved here. Then at the workplace a system to ensure that in the future when this is all in place only legal people will be hired.

>> Michael Grant:
How does that employment eligibility system work? How do you envision that working?

>> Jon Kyl:
It has to have several components. First is a commitment to enforce the law. No amnesty. If we're going to allow people to work and return, they have to do it within a legal system. I think that part can be done relatively well because people probably won't want to cheat the system if they're willing to voluntarily come to the United States, work here, and then go back home again. But they will have to have documents that include biometric identification, probably finger prints, that are easily readable by the employers, and a system that's auditable by the U.S. Government. That same kind of system with additional requirements will be necessary for anyone who is here illegally today and permitted to continue to work here at least on a temporary basis. Obviously the purpose here is to ensure that everybody who is here illegally today will become legal, will sign up, will come forth and say, we came here illegally, what are our options. And those options probably include three main things, go home and work in a guest worker program if you want to do that, coming back here, if you want legal permanent residency, you can go home and apply for that. And if you want to stay here, if there's some circumstances that make it hard for you to leave, you've had kids born here or whatever it might be, to have a temporary system for you to maintain your employment here, but in that case, it's not legal permanent residency. Those documents will need to be fraud proof and easily auditable, because what we don't want is a large cohort of people out there who continue to claim that they're U.S. citizens with false driver's licenses and Social Security cards, therefore, who never even bother to obtain this other document.

>> Michael Grant:
I realize the opposition to amnesty, and I think we had a significantly failed experiment with that in the mid-1980s, but the numbers here seem to me to be daunting. They're staggering. How realistic is it to think that affirmatively we're going to migrate 7, 8, 9 million people back over the border?

>> Jon Kyl:
Well, I'm not sure that's the right way to look at it. I envision giving people an option, or really three options. There's both a carrot and a stick here. If you register your illegal entry into the country here, you've got basically three opportunities as I said. A lot of the folks say they just want to come here on a part-time basis and go back home and work. Here's the program for you to do that. Some say, we want to become legal permanent residents of the United States, in other words, over the long haul. Now, that takes a while, could that take five or six years, but that option I don't think should be denied to them, but as the president said, you go home and get in line with everybody else. There may be people, as I said, who it would be a hardship for to exercise either of those other two options who could continue to work here on a temporary basis, and for those people it's got to be pretty clear they don't have the same rights as the people who go home and get legal permanent residents. They wouldn't be able to chain migrate all their family in for example.

>> Michael Grant: What is their incentive to sign on? And by them I mean several million people.

>> Jon Kyl: You get to participate -- all three of those options give you a right to legally participate in our system.

>> Jose Cardenas: Things to distinguish this bill from other versions is the comprehensiveness of it. It's really much more than guest worker isn't it?

>> Le Templar: That's correct. They seem to make an effort to tackle virtually every facet of the immigration issue that's been identified, ranging from border security and employer enforcement to dealing with family issues and not only the person who has a work visa but getting their families here as well, reuniting them, to federal payments for costs related to medical care for immigrants or jailing immigrants who have committed crimes and just -- they've brought all of into it one package and then impressing a lot of people who are involved with immigration issues this time around.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The defenders say the dreaded A word, amnesty, is not there. But that probably depends on whether you're talking to somebody like Jeff Flake or somebody like congressman Hayworth, right?

>> Le Templar:
Exactly. The key issue on amnesty is to reflect back to 1986 where in an effort to recognize the number of immigrants that were in the country at that time, who didn't have legal status, basically we just granted them a blank policy saying if you come in and prove you are not a threat to the community, that you do have an active job or you can get employment, that we'll let you stay here permanently. This time the bill says, you have that same option, but you're going to have to pay back taxes and fines and you're going to have to wait at least six years before you can apply for permanent residency. All you can apply for initially is for that work visa, the 5B visa to have a job and stay for a limited period of time. So the supporters of bill are claiming that's why it's not amnesty because there's no guarantee you're going to get residency, you're going to have to wait a while in order to apply, and you're going to have to -- you're going to have to sacrifice something, pay a fair amount of money up front in order to do it.

>> Michael Grant:
Thank you very much for joining us on this Thursday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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