Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 24, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

HealthCare Connect


  • HealthCare Connect is a non-profit organization that connects low-income, uninsured residents of Maricopa County with complete, coordinated health care at affordable rates. Executive Director of HealthCare Connect Terry McPeters discusses the program and how it can help people in Maricopa County.
Guests:
  • Representative Russell Pearce
  • -
  • Representative Steve Gallardo
  • -
  • Terry McPeters - Executive Director, Healthcare Connect


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," a state lawmaker wants to build a wall like this one in Nogales across the entire Arizona border to stop illegal immigration. We discuss the pros and cons of the idea.

>>> Healthcare Connect helps low-income and uninsured residents of Maricopa County get healthcare coverage.

>>> Plus, invasive nonnative plants are sprouting up in Arizona and causing concerns because they add to potential wildfire fuel. That's next on "Horizon."

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friend of channel 8. Members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." A judge has decided that State Representative David Burnell Smith should forfeit his office for overspending his public campaign funds. Judge Daniel Martin ruled that the Citizens' Clean Election Commission was correct on all counts when it voted to throw out the freshman representative from Scottsdale. Smith claims the commission has no right under the State constitution to overturn an election.

>>> Michael Grant:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Grant Chertoff has announced a new initiative aimed at controlling the flood of undocumented immigrants across the border with Mexico. Chertoff recognized what he called distress felt by the American public about the lack of control at the border. The announcement comes only days after Governor Napolitano criticized the federal government for not providing adequate support and declared four counties on the border disaster areas. The alarm expressed by many in Arizona over the size of the problem has prompted action by state lawmakers. Joining us to talk about his intention to write legislation that would permit the building of a wall on the border, Representative Russell Pearce. Also with us to talk about possible border solutions, Representative Steve Gallardo. Gentlemen, happy summer. Are you staying cool?

>> Steve Gallardo:
You bet, trying.

>> Russell Pearce:
Difficult in Arizona to stay really cool, but I'll tell you, we love it anyway.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's focus on the wall. Now, first point you want to make, we were in some video of the wall down Nogales. That's not the kind of wall you envision; correct?

>> Russell Pearce:
No, it's not. In fact, there is several options, but one of the better walls has already been erected in San Diego. It's a non-climbable, it's really post to post, but non-climbable, very impenetrable, and just like the quote from one of the border patrol when we talked about a fence, which is their spokesman down there, he said not only will it enhance our ability to gain greater control of the border, but it is a proactive effort to protect the environment, habitat and protect against the ravages of narcotics and aliens smuggling vehicles. We have fences around our homes to keep trespassers out and keep certain things in, maybe, but you'll never build a wall somebody can't get over, but what you can do is build a wall that stops the amount of vehicle traffic that is enormous. The drug traders and so forth. And like officer eagle that was killed in the organ pipe national park down there, the most dangerous park in America today. This has to stop. Enough is enough. 3 to 4 million folks come across illegally this year alone.

>> Michael Grant:
I've got a $1.7 million per mile figure on the wall in San Diego. I'm doing some fast math on 350 miles, I think we're up around $500 million. How do we pay for that beast?

>> Russell Pearce:
That's a good question. First of all, you're probably not going to -- there are places probably not feasible to build a wall. You build it where most of the traffic comes through, and that's through people's farms and ranches and areas that make sense to build it first. I would hope we could build it virtually most of that direction, but there is place us can't which frees up the money.

>> Michael Grant:
You are still talking $300, $400 million.

>> There is $400 billion in unpaid taxes on an annual basis in America due to the underground work force, much of which is illegal aliens. They get paid cash under the table. There is money they send back depending on the reports, $16 to $40 billion sent back home, called a remittance sent out of the United States. If you supplied an 8\% tax to that money, and they ought to help pay for the fence and put an 8\% tax on that remittance, and do you quick math, based on the number and let's conservative figure, I suspect $2 billion of that comes from Arizona, what you have is $160 million a year you are going to generate. In addition to that, you do a tax credit and I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate. I'm setting up a web site that will allow donations to it and so forth. I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate big dollars to help build the wall. Enough is enough.

>> Representative Gallardo, do you think enough is enough or not? What's your opinion on the wall?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The wall won't work, bottom line. What we need is the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job. That's what the State of Arizona needs. The idea of building a wall across this state is not going to prevent anyone from going through other parts of our southern border there. It won't prevent them from going through Texas, New Mexico or even California. The actual fence that your referring to in -- that covers California is not preventing people from going into California, because they still are. The fact is we need the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo I think, though, it is generally thought that because of enhanced enforcement efforts both in Texas by their ports of entry and in California, primarily at San Diego, that they have been fairly effective and quite honestly, it's what has created much more of a problem in New Mexico, but particularly Arizona. So if its working in those two locales, why wouldn't it work here.

>> Steve Gallardo:
This is a much more serious problem. I think we have to address it not only from securing our borders, I would agree with Mr. Pearce, I think we have to secure our borders, but we don't do it with a wall. We do it as the way the two governors from our southern two neighboring states here, New Mexico and Arizona have done. They have called the state of emergency. They have got the attention of the federal government, and we've seen it in the letter from Mr. Chertoff. I think this is one way of going about it, but building a wall and closing off our border to the rest of the world is not the solution to this. We have to have an honest dialogue on this particular issue. This is too serious of an issue to just use these 10-second sound bites to scare people.

>> Russell Pearce:
Let me respond to that. First of all, what the Governor did and first of all, after she is willing to give them a driver's license, fought proper since session 200 and says you can't vote if you are not a citizen and legally here, she has been the illegal alien Governor. What this emergency does, and I thought the first -- when you first do an emergency, the first thing you do is call out the National Guard if it's a real emergency. All it did was free up money to pay for things. Nobody is arresting illegals, unless they commit serious crimes. Nobody is securing the border. The wall is a good place to start. It takes other things, local law enforcement has to get engaged. Employer sanctions have to be involved. All of this has to go into plagues. I agree, it is a multi-pronged effort. Building that wall does work, and like you said, very clearly because of the increased security of Texas and California, Arizona has become the choice of entry to the United States. Three to four million folks. Now let's talk about the cost of the wall briefly in terms of the savings, because it's not a cost. What you've got is billions and billions of dollars spent on public services, not counting crime, the largest most violent gangs in America are made up of illegal aliens. According to Chief Hurtt, they said, quote, 80\% of the violent crimes that they respond to involve illegal aliens. We have 57,000 vehicles stolen in the State of Arizona. Where does it end? When do we stand up? We are a nation of law and the rule of law, and we have a country that doesn't respect our law. They print their 12th edition of a manual how to break into the United States and get free stuff, they are also pushing in terms of the fact of importing a statement recently, President Fox, they are reporting -- the reason they have a low employment rate is because they are deporting them to the United States.

>> Michael Grant: Representative Gallardo, Arizonans are growing increasingly frustrated with the situation. I think you are right. I think everybody agrees you've got a multi-pronged approach to this thing, but to the extent you can slow them down with a physical obstruction, why not take a shot at it?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, it will not solve the ultimate problem. The underlying problem is that there are folks that are looking to come to this country to work, bottom line. And until you start addressing other issues --

>> Michael Grant:
Well then move to a guest worker program.

>> Steve Gallardo:
That's a perfect place to start.

>> Michael Grant:
But people won't abide by the guest worker program, why not increase border security in some fashion to keep out those who won't comply.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, our Governor has made the first step in getting the federal government involved. Right now the federal government has been silent on this whole issue. They have not come to the table to address it. They are finally coming to the table since our Governor has called a state of emergency. It is bringing $1.5 million to law enforcement to actually control the actual criminal element of the actual border, and Mr. Pearce, with all due respect as appropriations chair, you have not appropriated not one nickel, not one nickel to fighting immigration in this state, so, to point the finger at the Governor or to throw cat stones at the Governor --

>> Russell Pearce:
If you are going to use that, let me correct you on that. I gave 29 additional officers to DPS. I increased 4 million to fight illegal gangs. That is not true. I've worked with the Governor for three years, not once is she willing to engage me in conference session, with reference to this problem. Not once has she come down and said what can we do. Not one time, Mr. Gallardo. The truth is she freed up $1.5 million, I've put much more than that into. Willing to put much more into that. She vetoed 6 bills that went after the issue. The wall isn't the issue. I'm telling you, according to those folks who are pro illegal alien.

>> Steve Gallardo:
No one is pro illegal alien.

>> Russell Pearce:
Wait a minute, she vetoed the bill for law enforcement. She vetoed the bill for the metric collar card which is the most dangerous thing you can do. Senate Bill 1511.

>> Michael Grant:
Hold it, you guys, you can't both talk. Why are you saying --

>> Russell Pearce:
The bill is used to get -- that's outrageous.

>> Michael Grant:
Why are you saying it's false?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The actual metric collar card is used solely for the purposes of identification. It is used by law enforcement -- no, it's not. It's used for identification by law enforcement. They have testified over and over again this is being used by law enforcement.

>> Russell Pearce:
The FBI said it's the most unreliable form of --

>> Michael Grant:
You can't talk at the same time.

>> Russell Pearce:
There are more cards on the metric collar card.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It's not true.

>> Russell Pearce:
It is not used -- that is not true.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It is used for identification purposes.

>> Russell Pearce:
I'll bring the FBI report to you and show you what they said about it.

>> Michael Grant:
Pearce, let me try this. $1.5 million certainly ain't gonna turn things around, but it does seem, I understand your position that the Governor is late to the issue.

>> Russell Pearce:
Janet-come-lately.

>> Michael Grant:
It does seem that given what happened this week with Chertoff that for whatever reason she was able to jack up the profile of the issue and get a little bit of national attention, get a little bit of federal response.

>> Russell Pearce:
I will give her credit for that. I appreciate the fact, even though they are not sincere about it, and I truly believe they are not, it does raise the bar. She has helped clear the way, the fact that you've got the folks that have not been engaged in this battle all of a sudden say we recognize it's a crisis. It did free up $1.5 million to help with a serious situation, but nobody changed strategies. Nobody is securing the border. Nobody is enforcing the law. No strategy has been changed. You did give them some relief, and I appreciate that. They were well overdue for relieve. And I support that. I just want to be fair about what it did, you know. It didn't change any strategies. It didn't change the three to four million coming across the border. You know, it's going to take a multi-effort. We've got to quit hiding. We need to enforce our laws with compassion but without apology. We're nation of law. You cannot continue to trespass, foreign trespass in this nation and there is destruction of neighborhoods, gangs, violence, billions in public benefits. It's got to stop.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, you get the last word.

>> Steve Gallardo:
We are on the right track in securing our borders. The Governor has done a good job in terms of bringing funding to our local law enforcement and government to give them some relief and be able to go after the criminal element. This is the first step of many other tasks we have to deal with. She is working with law enforcement. She is working with the federal government. She is working with the Sonoran government to come up with practical solutions, not these 10-minute sound bites to scare folks. Real solutions. That's what we need. The wall will not accomplish.

>> Michael Grant
: Representative Gallardo, it was a 10-minute sound bite. We appreciate your participation. Representative Russell Pearce, thank you.

>> Russell Pearce:
Thanks are having us

>>> Michael Grant:
A federal program is helping communities to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. The program is called "healthcare connect." Recently Jose Cardenas, host of our "Horizonte" program, spoke with the executive director of Healthcare Connect.

>> Jose Cardenas:
There's an organization designed to help low income and uninsured residents of Maricopa get healthcare coverage. Here to tell us is Terry McPeters. She is the executive director of Healthcare Connect. Terry, thank you for joining us on our show.

>> Terry McPeters:
Thanks for having me.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us the history of this program.

>> Terry McPeters:
Healthcare Connect was started through a program called the healthy community access programs, funded through the Department of Health Services.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Federal?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes, it is a federal program. It was initiated back in the Clinton administration when the problem of the uninsured was becoming more and more -- brought more to the awareness of the community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
This is available nationwide?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are programs nationwide. The programs are designed so that each community applies for a federal funding, and they can take that funding and do something within their community to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. There are no stipulations on how you create that access. You just have to create access to healthcare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
In Pima County, they have been doing this for the last several years or a program similar to the one you've initiated.

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
What was Maricopa County doing in these funds in the past or were the using them?

>> Terry McPeters:
We hadn't applied for them in the past. Pima County was the first one in Arizona to apply. They were one of the first 23 grantees that were awarded funding through this program. And as that program was becoming more and more successful, they started talking about expanding and, of course, Maricopa County was the next best or the next -- not the next best, but the next community that seemed to be the most obvious for it to come into.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Give us the broad outlines of the program. Who is eligible and what kinds of services are provided?

>> Terry McPeters:
Eligibility is based on three primary areas, one is residents of Maricopa County, so we would look at a utility statement, driver's license, something that would have the name of the applicant and residents within Maricopa County. The second piece is income and income requirements are from $100 to 250\% of the federal poverty levels, and in looking at dollars, that's around $9500 a year up to $23,000 a year for a single person. And you can add approximately $3,000 to that income for every additional family member. So the federal poverty level is based on the size of your family.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the third criterion is?

>> Terry McPeters:
That they cannot be eligible for any public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, any program sponsored by the state or the federal government, and they cannot be eligible for employer sponsored healthcare coverage.

>> Jose Cardenas:
These are people who aren't covered by Access?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct, they are over the income limit for AHCCCS or have been denied for some other reason.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And what's the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
The cost is $50 a year for an individual person and $100 a year for families of two or more. There will be additional out-of-pocket expenses to our members as they access medical services. But if you are a healthy person and you want something that's a safety net, just in case you get sick or have any problems, then there is no additional out-of-pocket costs to you.

>> Jose Cardenas:
As I understand it, right now, it's federal funds paying for the program and that's for three years; correct?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct.

>> Jose Cardenas:
After that, where does the money come from to pay for the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
Once the federal funding goes away, we will be looking to the community to help keep this program sustained. We will work with other nonprofit organizations, the enrollment fees that we collect from our enrollees will go towards sustainability as well.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Does that mean fees will go up?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, fees will not go up.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Who are you serving right now? What are the demographics?

>> Terry McPeters:
We have 2500 people enrolled. They are primarily Hispanic and women.

>> Jose Cardenas:

And the entirety of the target population, how many people would be eligible?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are potentially 200,000 people just in Maricopa County alone, who are in our target market, which is in that income range without access to help care.

>> Jose Cardenas:
How many people do you eventually expect to be serving?

>> Terry McPeters:
We figure by the time we reach the end of our third year, that we will have anywhere between 10 and 15,000 active members at any given time.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the benefit to the rest of the community is what?

>> Terry McPeters:
The benefit is that we are creating a healthier community. We are creating access to affordable healthcare, and one of our primary goals is to try to reteach people the importance of wellness and prevention, establishing with a physician so that they can get routine care, identify any potential problems before they become severe or acute and they end up in the emergency room. So that will free up our emergency room resources to handle true life-threatening emergencies and also help decrease the cost of healthcare in the long run because people are able to access care at a more affordable rate. So they are getting the right care at the right time at the right place instead of waiting until they get sick and acute and going to the emergency room.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The majority of the participants thus far are Hispanic females; is that right?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Any particular reason for that? Is it prenatal care? Pregnancy care? What is it?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, what we have found is that when -- since women are primarily the decision-makers when it comes to healthcare in a family, and that's not just the Hispanic families, that's all families, but what we are finding is that because the Hispanic community unfortunately tends to fall into the lower income ranges for the majority of the positions that are out there, they are primarily getting the part-time jobs, and those day labor jobs where they don't get any healthcare offered to them. When we go through the enrollment process, we do screen all of the household for eligibility into any public program, and so as we're screening these families, the kids and the family may be eligible for the KidsCare program, so instead of enrolling them into Healthcare Connect, we get them enrolled in KidsCare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Legal residency is not one of the criterion?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, no, it is not. During the screening process, we will ask about residency, whether or not they are a U.S. citizen, and the reason we do that is because we are looking to see if they are eligible for the state programs, and because that is a requirement for AHCCCS and for KidsCare, and we do ask that question.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Has the publicity surrounding proposition 200 had any impact?

>> Terry McPeters:
I think it has to some degree. I think people with the passing of Prop 200 have some fear about information being released to agencies that could potentially get them deported back into Mexico or any other country where they are here from, and so we want to make sure that everybody understands information give to us is kept very confidential. We don't share any of our information that we receive with INS or any of those other agencies. It would get shared with access if they are eligible for the AHCCCS program, but those are the people that are here and have the residency established already.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Terry McPeters, thank you for joining us tonight.

>> Michael Grant:
For more information about the Healthcare Connect, you can check their web site at www.healthcarconnect.org.

>> Michael Grant:
Persistent nonnative plants are changing the biological makeup of the Sonoran desert. Producer Tony Paniagua looks at the threat posed by these plants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
This may look like your typical Sonoran desert scene, but scientists say our famous environment is under attack by aliens. Invasive species are crowding out or destroying the natives.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
I'm deeply concerned that large areas of the Sonoran desert are vulnerable to these weed invasions.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Mark Dimmitt is head of the Sonora Desert Museum. One of his biggest concerns was buffalo grass which was brought here for forage for cattle. It is adapting very well in Arizona and other states. It may be small, but it's used to dealing with giants.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
So it's a very tough grass to begin with. For example, in some places it's adapted to being trampled and eaten by elephants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Unlike the creosote or Ocotillo, invasive species did not evolve here, and therefore they are not facing natural predators or diseases to keep them in balance. Without that they can grow fast and quickly and out compete native plants and animals. Sonoran mustard is another plant from overseas. It has found a home in Arizona. You can find it growing all over the Tucson area, especially close to roads like this patch west of the desert museum.

>>Each individual plant can make 9,000 seeds. They don't need to be pollinated, they can self-propagate. If you think about one plant this year in this spot, 9,000 seeds in the ground, next year, what could be here if we get a really good rain.

>> Tony Paniagua:
These and other invasives are blamed for fueling recent fires in the southwest, including the Cave Creek complex fire north of Phoenix. It is the second-largest fire in Arizona history, and it's charred over a quarter million acres.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
Basically they are a carpet. They create a carpet of dry fuel and many square miles of desert can burn at once.

>> Tony Paniagua:
And natives like the Saguaro or Palo Verde pay the price. Many are killed by the fires that used to be unheard of in the lower Sonoran desert.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
It's a major concern. There are several new weeds and a couple of possible new animal pests coming in that can convert the Sonoran desert into a wasteland.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Supporters of the desert are trying to make a positive difference. For example, the desert museum and the Sonoran desert weed whackers are educating the public about the threat of invasives. Volunteers spend one Saturday a month digging out buffalo grass.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We've been working for five years, since 2000, and we figure we've extrapolated data that we figure we've taken out 4600 tons of buffalo grass and fountain grass from Tucson mountain park.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Experts say we should try to dig out or eradicate fountain grass. It's another nonnative that's very popular because people like the way it looks.

>> John Chinnock:
A lot of people see this coming up along the roadway and they find it very attractive. They see it in their yards and they tend to water it and encourage it to propagate. If homeowners were educated and made aware of the problem, it would eliminate a lot of the seed bank and potentially help to control it.

>> Tony Paniagua:
It seems like an uphill battle but weed whackers and others say it is an important task.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We do not want it to become an African grassland. We instead want it to be maintained as a pristine Sonoran desert. And I think that's what drives us.

>> Tony Paniagua:
They hope everyone gets involved. After all, the Sonoran desert as we know it is in danger. With more invasives on the way, what we do or don't do will determine its future.

>>> Michael Grant:
For more information about an invasive species, you can log onto the Arizona Sonora desert museum's web site at WWW.desertmuseum.org. On the other hand, to see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our web site. You'll find it at www.azpbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Arizona Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva will join us to talk about immigration bills that have been proposed in Congress.

>>>Mike Sauceda:
The growing opposition to the war in Iraq, and the impending end of some of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, that's Thursday at 7:00 here on channel 8's "Horizon" program.

>> Michael Grant:
And of course, we'll wrap up the week's top stories on the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday. Thanks very much for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Nonnative plants changing the biological


Guests:
  • Representative Russell Pearce
  • -
  • Representative Steve Gallardo
  • -
  • Terry McPeters - Executive Director, Healthcare Connect


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," a state lawmaker wants to build a wall like this one in Nogales across the entire Arizona border to stop illegal immigration. We discuss the pros and cons of the idea.

>>> Healthcare Connect helps low-income and uninsured residents of Maricopa County get healthcare coverage.

>>> Plus, invasive nonnative plants are sprouting up in Arizona and causing concerns because they add to potential wildfire fuel. That's next on "Horizon."

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friend of channel 8. Members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." A judge has decided that State Representative David Burnell Smith should forfeit his office for overspending his public campaign funds. Judge Daniel Martin ruled that the Citizens' Clean Election Commission was correct on all counts when it voted to throw out the freshman representative from Scottsdale. Smith claims the commission has no right under the State constitution to overturn an election.

>>> Michael Grant:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Grant Chertoff has announced a new initiative aimed at controlling the flood of undocumented immigrants across the border with Mexico. Chertoff recognized what he called distress felt by the American public about the lack of control at the border. The announcement comes only days after Governor Napolitano criticized the federal government for not providing adequate support and declared four counties on the border disaster areas. The alarm expressed by many in Arizona over the size of the problem has prompted action by state lawmakers. Joining us to talk about his intention to write legislation that would permit the building of a wall on the border, Representative Russell Pearce. Also with us to talk about possible border solutions, Representative Steve Gallardo. Gentlemen, happy summer. Are you staying cool?

>> Steve Gallardo:
You bet, trying.

>> Russell Pearce:
Difficult in Arizona to stay really cool, but I'll tell you, we love it anyway.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's focus on the wall. Now, first point you want to make, we were in some video of the wall down Nogales. That's not the kind of wall you envision; correct?

>> Russell Pearce:
No, it's not. In fact, there is several options, but one of the better walls has already been erected in San Diego. It's a non-climbable, it's really post to post, but non-climbable, very impenetrable, and just like the quote from one of the border patrol when we talked about a fence, which is their spokesman down there, he said not only will it enhance our ability to gain greater control of the border, but it is a proactive effort to protect the environment, habitat and protect against the ravages of narcotics and aliens smuggling vehicles. We have fences around our homes to keep trespassers out and keep certain things in, maybe, but you'll never build a wall somebody can't get over, but what you can do is build a wall that stops the amount of vehicle traffic that is enormous. The drug traders and so forth. And like officer eagle that was killed in the organ pipe national park down there, the most dangerous park in America today. This has to stop. Enough is enough. 3 to 4 million folks come across illegally this year alone.

>> Michael Grant:
I've got a $1.7 million per mile figure on the wall in San Diego. I'm doing some fast math on 350 miles, I think we're up around $500 million. How do we pay for that beast?

>> Russell Pearce:
That's a good question. First of all, you're probably not going to -- there are places probably not feasible to build a wall. You build it where most of the traffic comes through, and that's through people's farms and ranches and areas that make sense to build it first. I would hope we could build it virtually most of that direction, but there is place us can't which frees up the money.

>> Michael Grant:
You are still talking $300, $400 million.

>> There is $400 billion in unpaid taxes on an annual basis in America due to the underground work force, much of which is illegal aliens. They get paid cash under the table. There is money they send back depending on the reports, $16 to $40 billion sent back home, called a remittance sent out of the United States. If you supplied an 8\% tax to that money, and they ought to help pay for the fence and put an 8\% tax on that remittance, and do you quick math, based on the number and let's conservative figure, I suspect $2 billion of that comes from Arizona, what you have is $160 million a year you are going to generate. In addition to that, you do a tax credit and I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate. I'm setting up a web site that will allow donations to it and so forth. I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate big dollars to help build the wall. Enough is enough.

>> Representative Gallardo, do you think enough is enough or not? What's your opinion on the wall?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The wall won't work, bottom line. What we need is the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job. That's what the State of Arizona needs. The idea of building a wall across this state is not going to prevent anyone from going through other parts of our southern border there. It won't prevent them from going through Texas, New Mexico or even California. The actual fence that your referring to in -- that covers California is not preventing people from going into California, because they still are. The fact is we need the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo I think, though, it is generally thought that because of enhanced enforcement efforts both in Texas by their ports of entry and in California, primarily at San Diego, that they have been fairly effective and quite honestly, it's what has created much more of a problem in New Mexico, but particularly Arizona. So if its working in those two locales, why wouldn't it work here.

>> Steve Gallardo:
This is a much more serious problem. I think we have to address it not only from securing our borders, I would agree with Mr. Pearce, I think we have to secure our borders, but we don't do it with a wall. We do it as the way the two governors from our southern two neighboring states here, New Mexico and Arizona have done. They have called the state of emergency. They have got the attention of the federal government, and we've seen it in the letter from Mr. Chertoff. I think this is one way of going about it, but building a wall and closing off our border to the rest of the world is not the solution to this. We have to have an honest dialogue on this particular issue. This is too serious of an issue to just use these 10-second sound bites to scare people.

>> Russell Pearce:
Let me respond to that. First of all, what the Governor did and first of all, after she is willing to give them a driver's license, fought proper since session 200 and says you can't vote if you are not a citizen and legally here, she has been the illegal alien Governor. What this emergency does, and I thought the first -- when you first do an emergency, the first thing you do is call out the National Guard if it's a real emergency. All it did was free up money to pay for things. Nobody is arresting illegals, unless they commit serious crimes. Nobody is securing the border. The wall is a good place to start. It takes other things, local law enforcement has to get engaged. Employer sanctions have to be involved. All of this has to go into plagues. I agree, it is a multi-pronged effort. Building that wall does work, and like you said, very clearly because of the increased security of Texas and California, Arizona has become the choice of entry to the United States. Three to four million folks. Now let's talk about the cost of the wall briefly in terms of the savings, because it's not a cost. What you've got is billions and billions of dollars spent on public services, not counting crime, the largest most violent gangs in America are made up of illegal aliens. According to Chief Hurtt, they said, quote, 80\% of the violent crimes that they respond to involve illegal aliens. We have 57,000 vehicles stolen in the State of Arizona. Where does it end? When do we stand up? We are a nation of law and the rule of law, and we have a country that doesn't respect our law. They print their 12th edition of a manual how to break into the United States and get free stuff, they are also pushing in terms of the fact of importing a statement recently, President Fox, they are reporting -- the reason they have a low employment rate is because they are deporting them to the United States.

>> Michael Grant: Representative Gallardo, Arizonans are growing increasingly frustrated with the situation. I think you are right. I think everybody agrees you've got a multi-pronged approach to this thing, but to the extent you can slow them down with a physical obstruction, why not take a shot at it?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, it will not solve the ultimate problem. The underlying problem is that there are folks that are looking to come to this country to work, bottom line. And until you start addressing other issues --

>> Michael Grant:
Well then move to a guest worker program.

>> Steve Gallardo:
That's a perfect place to start.

>> Michael Grant:
But people won't abide by the guest worker program, why not increase border security in some fashion to keep out those who won't comply.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, our Governor has made the first step in getting the federal government involved. Right now the federal government has been silent on this whole issue. They have not come to the table to address it. They are finally coming to the table since our Governor has called a state of emergency. It is bringing $1.5 million to law enforcement to actually control the actual criminal element of the actual border, and Mr. Pearce, with all due respect as appropriations chair, you have not appropriated not one nickel, not one nickel to fighting immigration in this state, so, to point the finger at the Governor or to throw cat stones at the Governor --

>> Russell Pearce:
If you are going to use that, let me correct you on that. I gave 29 additional officers to DPS. I increased 4 million to fight illegal gangs. That is not true. I've worked with the Governor for three years, not once is she willing to engage me in conference session, with reference to this problem. Not once has she come down and said what can we do. Not one time, Mr. Gallardo. The truth is she freed up $1.5 million, I've put much more than that into. Willing to put much more into that. She vetoed 6 bills that went after the issue. The wall isn't the issue. I'm telling you, according to those folks who are pro illegal alien.

>> Steve Gallardo:
No one is pro illegal alien.

>> Russell Pearce:
Wait a minute, she vetoed the bill for law enforcement. She vetoed the bill for the metric collar card which is the most dangerous thing you can do. Senate Bill 1511.

>> Michael Grant:
Hold it, you guys, you can't both talk. Why are you saying --

>> Russell Pearce:
The bill is used to get -- that's outrageous.

>> Michael Grant:
Why are you saying it's false?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The actual metric collar card is used solely for the purposes of identification. It is used by law enforcement -- no, it's not. It's used for identification by law enforcement. They have testified over and over again this is being used by law enforcement.

>> Russell Pearce:
The FBI said it's the most unreliable form of --

>> Michael Grant:
You can't talk at the same time.

>> Russell Pearce:
There are more cards on the metric collar card.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It's not true.

>> Russell Pearce:
It is not used -- that is not true.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It is used for identification purposes.

>> Russell Pearce:
I'll bring the FBI report to you and show you what they said about it.

>> Michael Grant:
Pearce, let me try this. $1.5 million certainly ain't gonna turn things around, but it does seem, I understand your position that the Governor is late to the issue.

>> Russell Pearce:
Janet-come-lately.

>> Michael Grant:
It does seem that given what happened this week with Chertoff that for whatever reason she was able to jack up the profile of the issue and get a little bit of national attention, get a little bit of federal response.

>> Russell Pearce:
I will give her credit for that. I appreciate the fact, even though they are not sincere about it, and I truly believe they are not, it does raise the bar. She has helped clear the way, the fact that you've got the folks that have not been engaged in this battle all of a sudden say we recognize it's a crisis. It did free up $1.5 million to help with a serious situation, but nobody changed strategies. Nobody is securing the border. Nobody is enforcing the law. No strategy has been changed. You did give them some relief, and I appreciate that. They were well overdue for relieve. And I support that. I just want to be fair about what it did, you know. It didn't change any strategies. It didn't change the three to four million coming across the border. You know, it's going to take a multi-effort. We've got to quit hiding. We need to enforce our laws with compassion but without apology. We're nation of law. You cannot continue to trespass, foreign trespass in this nation and there is destruction of neighborhoods, gangs, violence, billions in public benefits. It's got to stop.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, you get the last word.

>> Steve Gallardo:
We are on the right track in securing our borders. The Governor has done a good job in terms of bringing funding to our local law enforcement and government to give them some relief and be able to go after the criminal element. This is the first step of many other tasks we have to deal with. She is working with law enforcement. She is working with the federal government. She is working with the Sonoran government to come up with practical solutions, not these 10-minute sound bites to scare folks. Real solutions. That's what we need. The wall will not accomplish.

>> Michael Grant
: Representative Gallardo, it was a 10-minute sound bite. We appreciate your participation. Representative Russell Pearce, thank you.

>> Russell Pearce:
Thanks are having us

>>> Michael Grant:
A federal program is helping communities to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. The program is called "healthcare connect." Recently Jose Cardenas, host of our "Horizonte" program, spoke with the executive director of Healthcare Connect.

>> Jose Cardenas:
There's an organization designed to help low income and uninsured residents of Maricopa get healthcare coverage. Here to tell us is Terry McPeters. She is the executive director of Healthcare Connect. Terry, thank you for joining us on our show.

>> Terry McPeters:
Thanks for having me.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us the history of this program.

>> Terry McPeters:
Healthcare Connect was started through a program called the healthy community access programs, funded through the Department of Health Services.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Federal?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes, it is a federal program. It was initiated back in the Clinton administration when the problem of the uninsured was becoming more and more -- brought more to the awareness of the community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
This is available nationwide?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are programs nationwide. The programs are designed so that each community applies for a federal funding, and they can take that funding and do something within their community to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. There are no stipulations on how you create that access. You just have to create access to healthcare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
In Pima County, they have been doing this for the last several years or a program similar to the one you've initiated.

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
What was Maricopa County doing in these funds in the past or were the using them?

>> Terry McPeters:
We hadn't applied for them in the past. Pima County was the first one in Arizona to apply. They were one of the first 23 grantees that were awarded funding through this program. And as that program was becoming more and more successful, they started talking about expanding and, of course, Maricopa County was the next best or the next -- not the next best, but the next community that seemed to be the most obvious for it to come into.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Give us the broad outlines of the program. Who is eligible and what kinds of services are provided?

>> Terry McPeters:
Eligibility is based on three primary areas, one is residents of Maricopa County, so we would look at a utility statement, driver's license, something that would have the name of the applicant and residents within Maricopa County. The second piece is income and income requirements are from $100 to 250\% of the federal poverty levels, and in looking at dollars, that's around $9500 a year up to $23,000 a year for a single person. And you can add approximately $3,000 to that income for every additional family member. So the federal poverty level is based on the size of your family.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the third criterion is?

>> Terry McPeters:
That they cannot be eligible for any public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, any program sponsored by the state or the federal government, and they cannot be eligible for employer sponsored healthcare coverage.

>> Jose Cardenas:
These are people who aren't covered by Access?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct, they are over the income limit for AHCCCS or have been denied for some other reason.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And what's the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
The cost is $50 a year for an individual person and $100 a year for families of two or more. There will be additional out-of-pocket expenses to our members as they access medical services. But if you are a healthy person and you want something that's a safety net, just in case you get sick or have any problems, then there is no additional out-of-pocket costs to you.

>> Jose Cardenas:
As I understand it, right now, it's federal funds paying for the program and that's for three years; correct?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct.

>> Jose Cardenas:
After that, where does the money come from to pay for the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
Once the federal funding goes away, we will be looking to the community to help keep this program sustained. We will work with other nonprofit organizations, the enrollment fees that we collect from our enrollees will go towards sustainability as well.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Does that mean fees will go up?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, fees will not go up.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Who are you serving right now? What are the demographics?

>> Terry McPeters:
We have 2500 people enrolled. They are primarily Hispanic and women.

>> Jose Cardenas:

And the entirety of the target population, how many people would be eligible?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are potentially 200,000 people just in Maricopa County alone, who are in our target market, which is in that income range without access to help care.

>> Jose Cardenas:
How many people do you eventually expect to be serving?

>> Terry McPeters:
We figure by the time we reach the end of our third year, that we will have anywhere between 10 and 15,000 active members at any given time.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the benefit to the rest of the community is what?

>> Terry McPeters:
The benefit is that we are creating a healthier community. We are creating access to affordable healthcare, and one of our primary goals is to try to reteach people the importance of wellness and prevention, establishing with a physician so that they can get routine care, identify any potential problems before they become severe or acute and they end up in the emergency room. So that will free up our emergency room resources to handle true life-threatening emergencies and also help decrease the cost of healthcare in the long run because people are able to access care at a more affordable rate. So they are getting the right care at the right time at the right place instead of waiting until they get sick and acute and going to the emergency room.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The majority of the participants thus far are Hispanic females; is that right?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Any particular reason for that? Is it prenatal care? Pregnancy care? What is it?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, what we have found is that when -- since women are primarily the decision-makers when it comes to healthcare in a family, and that's not just the Hispanic families, that's all families, but what we are finding is that because the Hispanic community unfortunately tends to fall into the lower income ranges for the majority of the positions that are out there, they are primarily getting the part-time jobs, and those day labor jobs where they don't get any healthcare offered to them. When we go through the enrollment process, we do screen all of the household for eligibility into any public program, and so as we're screening these families, the kids and the family may be eligible for the KidsCare program, so instead of enrolling them into Healthcare Connect, we get them enrolled in KidsCare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Legal residency is not one of the criterion?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, no, it is not. During the screening process, we will ask about residency, whether or not they are a U.S. citizen, and the reason we do that is because we are looking to see if they are eligible for the state programs, and because that is a requirement for AHCCCS and for KidsCare, and we do ask that question.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Has the publicity surrounding proposition 200 had any impact?

>> Terry McPeters:
I think it has to some degree. I think people with the passing of Prop 200 have some fear about information being released to agencies that could potentially get them deported back into Mexico or any other country where they are here from, and so we want to make sure that everybody understands information give to us is kept very confidential. We don't share any of our information that we receive with INS or any of those other agencies. It would get shared with access if they are eligible for the AHCCCS program, but those are the people that are here and have the residency established already.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Terry McPeters, thank you for joining us tonight.

>> Michael Grant:
For more information about the Healthcare Connect, you can check their web site at www.healthcarconnect.org.

>> Michael Grant:
Persistent nonnative plants are changing the biological makeup of the Sonoran desert. Producer Tony Paniagua looks at the threat posed by these plants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
This may look like your typical Sonoran desert scene, but scientists say our famous environment is under attack by aliens. Invasive species are crowding out or destroying the natives.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
I'm deeply concerned that large areas of the Sonoran desert are vulnerable to these weed invasions.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Mark Dimmitt is head of the Sonora Desert Museum. One of his biggest concerns was buffalo grass which was brought here for forage for cattle. It is adapting very well in Arizona and other states. It may be small, but it's used to dealing with giants.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
So it's a very tough grass to begin with. For example, in some places it's adapted to being trampled and eaten by elephants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Unlike the creosote or Ocotillo, invasive species did not evolve here, and therefore they are not facing natural predators or diseases to keep them in balance. Without that they can grow fast and quickly and out compete native plants and animals. Sonoran mustard is another plant from overseas. It has found a home in Arizona. You can find it growing all over the Tucson area, especially close to roads like this patch west of the desert museum.

>>Each individual plant can make 9,000 seeds. They don't need to be pollinated, they can self-propagate. If you think about one plant this year in this spot, 9,000 seeds in the ground, next year, what could be here if we get a really good rain.

>> Tony Paniagua:
These and other invasives are blamed for fueling recent fires in the southwest, including the Cave Creek complex fire north of Phoenix. It is the second-largest fire in Arizona history, and it's charred over a quarter million acres.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
Basically they are a carpet. They create a carpet of dry fuel and many square miles of desert can burn at once.

>> Tony Paniagua:
And natives like the Saguaro or Palo Verde pay the price. Many are killed by the fires that used to be unheard of in the lower Sonoran desert.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
It's a major concern. There are several new weeds and a couple of possible new animal pests coming in that can convert the Sonoran desert into a wasteland.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Supporters of the desert are trying to make a positive difference. For example, the desert museum and the Sonoran desert weed whackers are educating the public about the threat of invasives. Volunteers spend one Saturday a month digging out buffalo grass.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We've been working for five years, since 2000, and we figure we've extrapolated data that we figure we've taken out 4600 tons of buffalo grass and fountain grass from Tucson mountain park.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Experts say we should try to dig out or eradicate fountain grass. It's another nonnative that's very popular because people like the way it looks.

>> John Chinnock:
A lot of people see this coming up along the roadway and they find it very attractive. They see it in their yards and they tend to water it and encourage it to propagate. If homeowners were educated and made aware of the problem, it would eliminate a lot of the seed bank and potentially help to control it.

>> Tony Paniagua:
It seems like an uphill battle but weed whackers and others say it is an important task.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We do not want it to become an African grassland. We instead want it to be maintained as a pristine Sonoran desert. And I think that's what drives us.

>> Tony Paniagua:
They hope everyone gets involved. After all, the Sonoran desert as we know it is in danger. With more invasives on the way, what we do or don't do will determine its future.

>>> Michael Grant:
For more information about an invasive species, you can log onto the Arizona Sonora desert museum's web site at WWW.desertmuseum.org. On the other hand, to see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our web site. You'll find it at www.azpbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Arizona Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva will join us to talk about immigration bills that have been proposed in Congress.

>>>Mike Sauceda:
The growing opposition to the war in Iraq, and the impending end of some of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, that's Thursday at 7:00 here on channel 8's "Horizon" program.

>> Michael Grant:
And of course, we'll wrap up the week's top stories on the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday. Thanks very much for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

state lawmaker's proposal to construct a new bui


Guests:
  • Representative Russell Pearce
  • -
  • Representative Steve Gallardo
  • -
  • Terry McPeters - Executive Director, Healthcare Connect


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," a state lawmaker wants to build a wall like this one in Nogales across the entire Arizona border to stop illegal immigration. We discuss the pros and cons of the idea.

>>> Healthcare Connect helps low-income and uninsured residents of Maricopa County get healthcare coverage.

>>> Plus, invasive nonnative plants are sprouting up in Arizona and causing concerns because they add to potential wildfire fuel. That's next on "Horizon."

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friend of channel 8. Members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." A judge has decided that State Representative David Burnell Smith should forfeit his office for overspending his public campaign funds. Judge Daniel Martin ruled that the Citizens' Clean Election Commission was correct on all counts when it voted to throw out the freshman representative from Scottsdale. Smith claims the commission has no right under the State constitution to overturn an election.

>>> Michael Grant:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Grant Chertoff has announced a new initiative aimed at controlling the flood of undocumented immigrants across the border with Mexico. Chertoff recognized what he called distress felt by the American public about the lack of control at the border. The announcement comes only days after Governor Napolitano criticized the federal government for not providing adequate support and declared four counties on the border disaster areas. The alarm expressed by many in Arizona over the size of the problem has prompted action by state lawmakers. Joining us to talk about his intention to write legislation that would permit the building of a wall on the border, Representative Russell Pearce. Also with us to talk about possible border solutions, Representative Steve Gallardo. Gentlemen, happy summer. Are you staying cool?

>> Steve Gallardo:
You bet, trying.

>> Russell Pearce:
Difficult in Arizona to stay really cool, but I'll tell you, we love it anyway.

>> Michael Grant:
Let's focus on the wall. Now, first point you want to make, we were in some video of the wall down Nogales. That's not the kind of wall you envision; correct?

>> Russell Pearce:
No, it's not. In fact, there is several options, but one of the better walls has already been erected in San Diego. It's a non-climbable, it's really post to post, but non-climbable, very impenetrable, and just like the quote from one of the border patrol when we talked about a fence, which is their spokesman down there, he said not only will it enhance our ability to gain greater control of the border, but it is a proactive effort to protect the environment, habitat and protect against the ravages of narcotics and aliens smuggling vehicles. We have fences around our homes to keep trespassers out and keep certain things in, maybe, but you'll never build a wall somebody can't get over, but what you can do is build a wall that stops the amount of vehicle traffic that is enormous. The drug traders and so forth. And like officer eagle that was killed in the organ pipe national park down there, the most dangerous park in America today. This has to stop. Enough is enough. 3 to 4 million folks come across illegally this year alone.

>> Michael Grant:
I've got a $1.7 million per mile figure on the wall in San Diego. I'm doing some fast math on 350 miles, I think we're up around $500 million. How do we pay for that beast?

>> Russell Pearce:
That's a good question. First of all, you're probably not going to -- there are places probably not feasible to build a wall. You build it where most of the traffic comes through, and that's through people's farms and ranches and areas that make sense to build it first. I would hope we could build it virtually most of that direction, but there is place us can't which frees up the money.

>> Michael Grant:
You are still talking $300, $400 million.

>> There is $400 billion in unpaid taxes on an annual basis in America due to the underground work force, much of which is illegal aliens. They get paid cash under the table. There is money they send back depending on the reports, $16 to $40 billion sent back home, called a remittance sent out of the United States. If you supplied an 8\% tax to that money, and they ought to help pay for the fence and put an 8\% tax on that remittance, and do you quick math, based on the number and let's conservative figure, I suspect $2 billion of that comes from Arizona, what you have is $160 million a year you are going to generate. In addition to that, you do a tax credit and I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate. I'm setting up a web site that will allow donations to it and so forth. I've had calls from all over the United States willing to donate big dollars to help build the wall. Enough is enough.

>> Representative Gallardo, do you think enough is enough or not? What's your opinion on the wall?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The wall won't work, bottom line. What we need is the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job. That's what the State of Arizona needs. The idea of building a wall across this state is not going to prevent anyone from going through other parts of our southern border there. It won't prevent them from going through Texas, New Mexico or even California. The actual fence that your referring to in -- that covers California is not preventing people from going into California, because they still are. The fact is we need the federal government to step up to the plate and do their job.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo I think, though, it is generally thought that because of enhanced enforcement efforts both in Texas by their ports of entry and in California, primarily at San Diego, that they have been fairly effective and quite honestly, it's what has created much more of a problem in New Mexico, but particularly Arizona. So if its working in those two locales, why wouldn't it work here.

>> Steve Gallardo:
This is a much more serious problem. I think we have to address it not only from securing our borders, I would agree with Mr. Pearce, I think we have to secure our borders, but we don't do it with a wall. We do it as the way the two governors from our southern two neighboring states here, New Mexico and Arizona have done. They have called the state of emergency. They have got the attention of the federal government, and we've seen it in the letter from Mr. Chertoff. I think this is one way of going about it, but building a wall and closing off our border to the rest of the world is not the solution to this. We have to have an honest dialogue on this particular issue. This is too serious of an issue to just use these 10-second sound bites to scare people.

>> Russell Pearce:
Let me respond to that. First of all, what the Governor did and first of all, after she is willing to give them a driver's license, fought proper since session 200 and says you can't vote if you are not a citizen and legally here, she has been the illegal alien Governor. What this emergency does, and I thought the first -- when you first do an emergency, the first thing you do is call out the National Guard if it's a real emergency. All it did was free up money to pay for things. Nobody is arresting illegals, unless they commit serious crimes. Nobody is securing the border. The wall is a good place to start. It takes other things, local law enforcement has to get engaged. Employer sanctions have to be involved. All of this has to go into plagues. I agree, it is a multi-pronged effort. Building that wall does work, and like you said, very clearly because of the increased security of Texas and California, Arizona has become the choice of entry to the United States. Three to four million folks. Now let's talk about the cost of the wall briefly in terms of the savings, because it's not a cost. What you've got is billions and billions of dollars spent on public services, not counting crime, the largest most violent gangs in America are made up of illegal aliens. According to Chief Hurtt, they said, quote, 80\% of the violent crimes that they respond to involve illegal aliens. We have 57,000 vehicles stolen in the State of Arizona. Where does it end? When do we stand up? We are a nation of law and the rule of law, and we have a country that doesn't respect our law. They print their 12th edition of a manual how to break into the United States and get free stuff, they are also pushing in terms of the fact of importing a statement recently, President Fox, they are reporting -- the reason they have a low employment rate is because they are deporting them to the United States.

>> Michael Grant: Representative Gallardo, Arizonans are growing increasingly frustrated with the situation. I think you are right. I think everybody agrees you've got a multi-pronged approach to this thing, but to the extent you can slow them down with a physical obstruction, why not take a shot at it?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, it will not solve the ultimate problem. The underlying problem is that there are folks that are looking to come to this country to work, bottom line. And until you start addressing other issues --

>> Michael Grant:
Well then move to a guest worker program.

>> Steve Gallardo:
That's a perfect place to start.

>> Michael Grant:
But people won't abide by the guest worker program, why not increase border security in some fashion to keep out those who won't comply.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Again, our Governor has made the first step in getting the federal government involved. Right now the federal government has been silent on this whole issue. They have not come to the table to address it. They are finally coming to the table since our Governor has called a state of emergency. It is bringing $1.5 million to law enforcement to actually control the actual criminal element of the actual border, and Mr. Pearce, with all due respect as appropriations chair, you have not appropriated not one nickel, not one nickel to fighting immigration in this state, so, to point the finger at the Governor or to throw cat stones at the Governor --

>> Russell Pearce:
If you are going to use that, let me correct you on that. I gave 29 additional officers to DPS. I increased 4 million to fight illegal gangs. That is not true. I've worked with the Governor for three years, not once is she willing to engage me in conference session, with reference to this problem. Not once has she come down and said what can we do. Not one time, Mr. Gallardo. The truth is she freed up $1.5 million, I've put much more than that into. Willing to put much more into that. She vetoed 6 bills that went after the issue. The wall isn't the issue. I'm telling you, according to those folks who are pro illegal alien.

>> Steve Gallardo:
No one is pro illegal alien.

>> Russell Pearce:
Wait a minute, she vetoed the bill for law enforcement. She vetoed the bill for the metric collar card which is the most dangerous thing you can do. Senate Bill 1511.

>> Michael Grant:
Hold it, you guys, you can't both talk. Why are you saying --

>> Russell Pearce:
The bill is used to get -- that's outrageous.

>> Michael Grant:
Why are you saying it's false?

>> Steve Gallardo:
The actual metric collar card is used solely for the purposes of identification. It is used by law enforcement -- no, it's not. It's used for identification by law enforcement. They have testified over and over again this is being used by law enforcement.

>> Russell Pearce:
The FBI said it's the most unreliable form of --

>> Michael Grant:
You can't talk at the same time.

>> Russell Pearce:
There are more cards on the metric collar card.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It's not true.

>> Russell Pearce:
It is not used -- that is not true.

>> Steve Gallardo:
It is used for identification purposes.

>> Russell Pearce:
I'll bring the FBI report to you and show you what they said about it.

>> Michael Grant:
Pearce, let me try this. $1.5 million certainly ain't gonna turn things around, but it does seem, I understand your position that the Governor is late to the issue.

>> Russell Pearce:
Janet-come-lately.

>> Michael Grant:
It does seem that given what happened this week with Chertoff that for whatever reason she was able to jack up the profile of the issue and get a little bit of national attention, get a little bit of federal response.

>> Russell Pearce:
I will give her credit for that. I appreciate the fact, even though they are not sincere about it, and I truly believe they are not, it does raise the bar. She has helped clear the way, the fact that you've got the folks that have not been engaged in this battle all of a sudden say we recognize it's a crisis. It did free up $1.5 million to help with a serious situation, but nobody changed strategies. Nobody is securing the border. Nobody is enforcing the law. No strategy has been changed. You did give them some relief, and I appreciate that. They were well overdue for relieve. And I support that. I just want to be fair about what it did, you know. It didn't change any strategies. It didn't change the three to four million coming across the border. You know, it's going to take a multi-effort. We've got to quit hiding. We need to enforce our laws with compassion but without apology. We're nation of law. You cannot continue to trespass, foreign trespass in this nation and there is destruction of neighborhoods, gangs, violence, billions in public benefits. It's got to stop.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, you get the last word.

>> Steve Gallardo:
We are on the right track in securing our borders. The Governor has done a good job in terms of bringing funding to our local law enforcement and government to give them some relief and be able to go after the criminal element. This is the first step of many other tasks we have to deal with. She is working with law enforcement. She is working with the federal government. She is working with the Sonoran government to come up with practical solutions, not these 10-minute sound bites to scare folks. Real solutions. That's what we need. The wall will not accomplish.

>> Michael Grant
: Representative Gallardo, it was a 10-minute sound bite. We appreciate your participation. Representative Russell Pearce, thank you.

>> Russell Pearce:
Thanks are having us

>>> Michael Grant:
A federal program is helping communities to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. The program is called "healthcare connect." Recently Jose Cardenas, host of our "Horizonte" program, spoke with the executive director of Healthcare Connect.

>> Jose Cardenas:
There's an organization designed to help low income and uninsured residents of Maricopa get healthcare coverage. Here to tell us is Terry McPeters. She is the executive director of Healthcare Connect. Terry, thank you for joining us on our show.

>> Terry McPeters:
Thanks for having me.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Tell us the history of this program.

>> Terry McPeters:
Healthcare Connect was started through a program called the healthy community access programs, funded through the Department of Health Services.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Federal?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes, it is a federal program. It was initiated back in the Clinton administration when the problem of the uninsured was becoming more and more -- brought more to the awareness of the community.

>> Jose Cardenas:
This is available nationwide?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are programs nationwide. The programs are designed so that each community applies for a federal funding, and they can take that funding and do something within their community to improve access to healthcare for low income and uninsured or underinsured people in their community. There are no stipulations on how you create that access. You just have to create access to healthcare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
In Pima County, they have been doing this for the last several years or a program similar to the one you've initiated.

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
What was Maricopa County doing in these funds in the past or were the using them?

>> Terry McPeters:
We hadn't applied for them in the past. Pima County was the first one in Arizona to apply. They were one of the first 23 grantees that were awarded funding through this program. And as that program was becoming more and more successful, they started talking about expanding and, of course, Maricopa County was the next best or the next -- not the next best, but the next community that seemed to be the most obvious for it to come into.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Give us the broad outlines of the program. Who is eligible and what kinds of services are provided?

>> Terry McPeters:
Eligibility is based on three primary areas, one is residents of Maricopa County, so we would look at a utility statement, driver's license, something that would have the name of the applicant and residents within Maricopa County. The second piece is income and income requirements are from $100 to 250\% of the federal poverty levels, and in looking at dollars, that's around $9500 a year up to $23,000 a year for a single person. And you can add approximately $3,000 to that income for every additional family member. So the federal poverty level is based on the size of your family.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the third criterion is?

>> Terry McPeters:
That they cannot be eligible for any public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, any program sponsored by the state or the federal government, and they cannot be eligible for employer sponsored healthcare coverage.

>> Jose Cardenas:
These are people who aren't covered by Access?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct, they are over the income limit for AHCCCS or have been denied for some other reason.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And what's the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
The cost is $50 a year for an individual person and $100 a year for families of two or more. There will be additional out-of-pocket expenses to our members as they access medical services. But if you are a healthy person and you want something that's a safety net, just in case you get sick or have any problems, then there is no additional out-of-pocket costs to you.

>> Jose Cardenas:
As I understand it, right now, it's federal funds paying for the program and that's for three years; correct?

>> Terry McPeters:
Correct.

>> Jose Cardenas:
After that, where does the money come from to pay for the cost of the program?

>> Terry McPeters:
Once the federal funding goes away, we will be looking to the community to help keep this program sustained. We will work with other nonprofit organizations, the enrollment fees that we collect from our enrollees will go towards sustainability as well.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Does that mean fees will go up?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, fees will not go up.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Who are you serving right now? What are the demographics?

>> Terry McPeters:
We have 2500 people enrolled. They are primarily Hispanic and women.

>> Jose Cardenas:

And the entirety of the target population, how many people would be eligible?

>> Terry McPeters:
There are potentially 200,000 people just in Maricopa County alone, who are in our target market, which is in that income range without access to help care.

>> Jose Cardenas:
How many people do you eventually expect to be serving?

>> Terry McPeters:
We figure by the time we reach the end of our third year, that we will have anywhere between 10 and 15,000 active members at any given time.

>> Jose Cardenas:
And the benefit to the rest of the community is what?

>> Terry McPeters:
The benefit is that we are creating a healthier community. We are creating access to affordable healthcare, and one of our primary goals is to try to reteach people the importance of wellness and prevention, establishing with a physician so that they can get routine care, identify any potential problems before they become severe or acute and they end up in the emergency room. So that will free up our emergency room resources to handle true life-threatening emergencies and also help decrease the cost of healthcare in the long run because people are able to access care at a more affordable rate. So they are getting the right care at the right time at the right place instead of waiting until they get sick and acute and going to the emergency room.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The majority of the participants thus far are Hispanic females; is that right?

>> Terry McPeters:
Yes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Any particular reason for that? Is it prenatal care? Pregnancy care? What is it?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, what we have found is that when -- since women are primarily the decision-makers when it comes to healthcare in a family, and that's not just the Hispanic families, that's all families, but what we are finding is that because the Hispanic community unfortunately tends to fall into the lower income ranges for the majority of the positions that are out there, they are primarily getting the part-time jobs, and those day labor jobs where they don't get any healthcare offered to them. When we go through the enrollment process, we do screen all of the household for eligibility into any public program, and so as we're screening these families, the kids and the family may be eligible for the KidsCare program, so instead of enrolling them into Healthcare Connect, we get them enrolled in KidsCare.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Legal residency is not one of the criterion?

>> Terry McPeters:
No, no, it is not. During the screening process, we will ask about residency, whether or not they are a U.S. citizen, and the reason we do that is because we are looking to see if they are eligible for the state programs, and because that is a requirement for AHCCCS and for KidsCare, and we do ask that question.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Has the publicity surrounding proposition 200 had any impact?

>> Terry McPeters:
I think it has to some degree. I think people with the passing of Prop 200 have some fear about information being released to agencies that could potentially get them deported back into Mexico or any other country where they are here from, and so we want to make sure that everybody understands information give to us is kept very confidential. We don't share any of our information that we receive with INS or any of those other agencies. It would get shared with access if they are eligible for the AHCCCS program, but those are the people that are here and have the residency established already.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Terry McPeters, thank you for joining us tonight.

>> Michael Grant:
For more information about the Healthcare Connect, you can check their web site at www.healthcarconnect.org.

>> Michael Grant:
Persistent nonnative plants are changing the biological makeup of the Sonoran desert. Producer Tony Paniagua looks at the threat posed by these plants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
This may look like your typical Sonoran desert scene, but scientists say our famous environment is under attack by aliens. Invasive species are crowding out or destroying the natives.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
I'm deeply concerned that large areas of the Sonoran desert are vulnerable to these weed invasions.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Mark Dimmitt is head of the Sonora Desert Museum. One of his biggest concerns was buffalo grass which was brought here for forage for cattle. It is adapting very well in Arizona and other states. It may be small, but it's used to dealing with giants.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
So it's a very tough grass to begin with. For example, in some places it's adapted to being trampled and eaten by elephants.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Unlike the creosote or Ocotillo, invasive species did not evolve here, and therefore they are not facing natural predators or diseases to keep them in balance. Without that they can grow fast and quickly and out compete native plants and animals. Sonoran mustard is another plant from overseas. It has found a home in Arizona. You can find it growing all over the Tucson area, especially close to roads like this patch west of the desert museum.

>>Each individual plant can make 9,000 seeds. They don't need to be pollinated, they can self-propagate. If you think about one plant this year in this spot, 9,000 seeds in the ground, next year, what could be here if we get a really good rain.

>> Tony Paniagua:
These and other invasives are blamed for fueling recent fires in the southwest, including the Cave Creek complex fire north of Phoenix. It is the second-largest fire in Arizona history, and it's charred over a quarter million acres.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
Basically they are a carpet. They create a carpet of dry fuel and many square miles of desert can burn at once.

>> Tony Paniagua:
And natives like the Saguaro or Palo Verde pay the price. Many are killed by the fires that used to be unheard of in the lower Sonoran desert.

>> Mark Dimmitt:
It's a major concern. There are several new weeds and a couple of possible new animal pests coming in that can convert the Sonoran desert into a wasteland.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Supporters of the desert are trying to make a positive difference. For example, the desert museum and the Sonoran desert weed whackers are educating the public about the threat of invasives. Volunteers spend one Saturday a month digging out buffalo grass.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We've been working for five years, since 2000, and we figure we've extrapolated data that we figure we've taken out 4600 tons of buffalo grass and fountain grass from Tucson mountain park.

>> Tony Paniagua:
Experts say we should try to dig out or eradicate fountain grass. It's another nonnative that's very popular because people like the way it looks.

>> John Chinnock:
A lot of people see this coming up along the roadway and they find it very attractive. They see it in their yards and they tend to water it and encourage it to propagate. If homeowners were educated and made aware of the problem, it would eliminate a lot of the seed bank and potentially help to control it.

>> Tony Paniagua:
It seems like an uphill battle but weed whackers and others say it is an important task.

>> Marylyn Hanson:
We do not want it to become an African grassland. We instead want it to be maintained as a pristine Sonoran desert. And I think that's what drives us.

>> Tony Paniagua:
They hope everyone gets involved. After all, the Sonoran desert as we know it is in danger. With more invasives on the way, what we do or don't do will determine its future.

>>> Michael Grant:
For more information about an invasive species, you can log onto the Arizona Sonora desert museum's web site at WWW.desertmuseum.org. On the other hand, to see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our web site. You'll find it at www.azpbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Arizona Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva will join us to talk about immigration bills that have been proposed in Congress.

>>>Mike Sauceda:
The growing opposition to the war in Iraq, and the impending end of some of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, that's Thursday at 7:00 here on channel 8's "Horizon" program.

>> Michael Grant:
And of course, we'll wrap up the week's top stories on the Journalists' Roundtable on Friday. Thanks very much for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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