Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 25, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Legislature 2006: Immigration


  • HORIZON examines the various immigration bills that could emerge from this year’s session.
Guests:
  • Pete Rios - Legislative minority whip


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on horizon good evening and welcome to horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Governor Janet Napolitano has again vetoed a bill sent to her by the legislature for English language learning. this is the second veto in as many days. the governor objects to the addition of a corporate tuition tax break. the attorney general has also filed a request of the district court that potential fines go to an English language learner's program. meanwhile, the special session the governor called last night to come up with a bill before 500-thousand dollar fines are levied against the state from a federal judge, has been adjourned for the day. it is running concurrently with the regular session. in separate news conferences today, the governor and republican legislative leaders appeared no closer to an agreement.



Michael Grant:
A federal judge has been adjourned for the day. It is running concurrently with the regular session. In separate news conferences today the governor and republican legislative leaders appeared no closer to an agreement.

Janet Napolitano:
I regret that the legislature is not focused on children and classrooms that are the subject of our federal court requirements. Instead they sent me a bill that had numerous deficiencies on it and in fact did not correct one of the largest deficiencies on the first it bill which was a tax credit without a cap. An alt. Fuel types scenario.

Ken Bennett:
she proved to me last year that her spoken Bennett word cannot be trusted. She proved to me last week her written word cannot be trusted. Now we're going to have to figure out some way of coming together on important policy for the state. But from a legislature's perspective, a Flores bill has to include accountability and include giving parents the opportunity to place their children in a school of their choice as one of the models in addition to putting additional resources and accountability into the public school system as well.

Janet Napolitano:
let me be very, very clear. They have not sent me a Flores bill. They have sent me a bill that's a little bit of Flores and a lot of a corporate tuition tax credit which is not in the budget which in fact is much larger than anything they put toward English language instruction.

Jim Weiers:
Governor says she vetoed this because it's not something a judge would accept. Why have a judge? She's already determined what she beliefs to be acceptable. When you look at choice -- and I know a lot of people within a certain mindset that's what the governor is thinking that choice is not an option. I think choice has got to be not only the option but also the debate that we're talking about. We've been saying from the beginning that we truly are doing what we feel is the right thing.

Michael Grant:
we now continue our week long series on key issues the state legislature is dealing with in this first legislative session of 2006. Tonight we talk with two legislators about the immigration policies being debated in the state. First Nadine Arroyo gives us a look at the immigration plan discussed earlier this month by governor Napolitano.

Nadine Arroyo:
The executive budget proposal has several components to the $100 million immigration budget plan. First the governor proposes to allocate $13.1 million to the department of public safety. The fund would it be distributed among local, county and tribal agencies that border with Mexico. In that plan, $8 million would go to border security and technology. In $5.1 million for local enforcement agencies. In addition, $10 million of new funds would go to law enforcement agencies to paid for overtime work such as -- the budget also calls for $14.3 million for the construction of a new crime lab in southern Arizona. The budget plan also includes $9.7 million for border patrol which includes the creation of a terrorism squad, two additional gang intelligence teams and two more teams created solely for human trafficking. In addition a one time, $50 million fund would be created for additional immigration measures. It's a program named "the border security mobilization reserve fund" and local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies would be eligible to receive money from it to help with cost overruns. The proposed immigration budget also appropriates $1.3 million to allow the attorney general to prosecute crimes related to illegal immigration. Prosecutions can range from human trafficking to identity theft. Other initiatives in the immigration budget, $730,000 for inmate work crews to clean up debris and trash along the border and more than $870,000 for crime lab personnel. According to governor Napolitano, these measures will assist the state in securing the border and stopping illegal immigration. A responsibility she adds has been solely placed on Arizona until the federal government steps up to the plate.

Michael Grant:
Joining us tonight to talk about Arizona immigration issues are minority whip Pete Rios and representative Ray Barnes. Gentlemen, welcome to horizon.

Pete Rios:
Thank you, Michael.

Ray Barnes:
Good to be here, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Mr. Rios let's start off with a proposal. The governor suggested putting the guard on the proposal, suggested -- made a request of secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld to pay for it. Let's put who pays for it to one side. Is putting the national guard on the border a good idea?

Pete Rios:
That was an issue that was raised by senator Harper about three years ago, I think it was 2003. And I think he was almost laughed out of the senate for proposing that. Things have really changed over time. And immigration has been an issue that has really come to the forefront in the minds of many people in the state of Arizona. The governor has to respond because it's an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of many of her folk. There are many people that don't believe that utilizing the guard on the border is a good idea.

Michael Grant:
Is Pete Rios one of those people?

Pete Rios:
Not necessarily. Depends how utilized. The governor has indicated that the guard would be used to support local law enforcement and to do a lot of the tasks that local law enforce mat is currently doing. In that respect I don't have any problem. Because I believe we do need to secure our borders. Let me make that clear. Let there be no mistake. But I think when we do things piece meal and we don't work with the federal government and we don't have a guest worker program, I'm not too sure it's going to work.

Michael Grant:
Mr. Barnes, what about putting the national guard on the border? Is that a good or bad idea?

Ray Barnes:
Well, I think we're going to be forced to do something to make the laws come into effect. We've got to enforce the laws. Now, what is it going to take to enforce the laws? The longer we wait the more it's going to take. Are we to the point of where we require the military on the border? I think we're pretty close. What scares me to death is the fact if we don't do something like that and something happens in the united states that is traced back to coming across the border in Mexico, it's going to totally deteriorate the relationship between Mexico and the united states.

Michael Grant:
Here's another way -- to slow down that's to build a fence. The governor suggests an electronic fence. As you know there are proposals we build a real fence along the border. What's your take on that?

Ray Barnes:
Well, I think we're making it more difficult for the border to be impinged which is exactly what the purpose of the fence is for.

Michael Grant:
awfully expensive.

Ray Barnes:
Balancing out time versus effectiveness? I don't know. Maybe the fence is the way to go. I need to know more information about what it's going to cost, how long it's going to take. Would a road, would more troops be more effective? What is the cost of enforcement?

Michael Grant:
Mr. Rios, I know a lot of people think the idea of a physical fence is, well, stupid. On the other hand, you can point at the San Diego sector, you can point at the Texas sector and there's a fair amount of evidence that it's worked there. In fact, there's a fair amount of evidence that what they're doing over there is forced an upticking in illegal immigration in Arizona. So is it a good idea or bad?

Pete Rios:
The first thing that comes to mind when we propose building the a fence on the border is, who's going to build it? So I guess we need to put out the word to the immigrants. As you're building a fence, make sure you stay on this side. Because who's going to build it? We have a labor shortage. We have a problem with that to begin with. And I think that's one of the things that people need to realize is at some point in time we have to have a guest worker program. There simply are not enough people in this state or in this country to do those jobs.

Michael Grant:
I understand. But that's probably something more in the control of the united states congress than the Arizona legislature. Incidentally, what's your reaction to the Mexico commission who this week is printing 70,000 maps?

Pete Rios:
I saw that. At least it's not the Mexican federal government that's doing it. I mean, it's basically a humanitarian organization. And I think their belief is to try to ensure that some of these folks don't die in the desert.

Michael Grant:
But the Mexican government has also printed, published tips on how to safely get across the border.

Pete Rios:
but they're not acknowledging or claiming credit at least the last report I read the Mexican government was saying it was being done by this humane organization and not by the government. But again, if we're looking to save lives, we don't want anybody to die in the desert whether it's an u.s. citizen or immigrant or anybody else.

Michael Grant:
Sure.

Pete Rios:
And if that's their main concern then I don't have any problem with. It if their idea is to try to help people sneak across the border, then obviously that's something we can't condone or support.

Ray Barnes:
I was going to mention. It is a step up from comic books. That's what they were using before to get illegals across. So we're getting our education system in a little better shape.

Michael Grant:
Mr. Barnes, one of the things the legislature has resisted has been employer sanctions for those who hire illegal immigrants. You can make a fairly strong case that if you would reduce the magnet you might reduce illegal immigration. Republicans consistently have been opposed to those. There's a bill back in front, a poll that we ran indicated that Arizona is pretty strongly support cracking down on employers.

Ray Barnes:
This republican is not that way. Illegal is illegal. Now, you can't turn around and tell me that a person that comes across the border is an illegal and yet somebody that hires that person it's okay. It's legal. No, illegal is illegal. The laws are in effect until we change the laws we have to obey all of them.

Michael Grant:
Do you think more of your republican colleagues are going to join you on that issue in the legislature?

Ray Barnes:
I think they're going to go obliged to. I don't see how you can turn around and say, this is illegal, this is okay even if it's illegal. Can't do that?

Michael Grant:
Mr. Rios you mentioned a couple of times a guest worker program. That's a federal issue. But the one thing state of Arizona could do is something along these lines and send a strong message to business, don't hire illegal immigrants.

Pete Rios:
Well, if the most that we can do legislatively is send a post card to congress basically urging them to support the Mccain-Ken Bennett bill that has the guest worker program. But for us to be able to do it here as a state, well, immigration is a federal issue. I don't suspect we could do that. But when it comes to employer sanctions, I think people need to think about what that would really do to the economy in the state of Arizona. And again, the worker supply. Because if employers are then fearful of hiring people, I mean, just look at your jack in the box, McDonalds and would works there. If all of a sudden all these people are laid off, I think service to the community and the cost of service goes through the ceiling.

Michael Grant:
So you don't support increased employer sanctions for those who hire illegal aliens.

Pete Rios:
I think we have employer sanctions in place. It's a federal program. And I think it's a matter of the federal government enforcing what they have in their law books right now.

Michael Grant:
Do you see increased employer sanctions going any place?

Ray Barnes:
Absolutely. Senator Brotherton, democrat over in the senate has started a bill to put some sanctions on employers employing illegals. I signed on I, Ray Barnes, a republican signed on to that bill.

Michael Grant:
All right. Let me go to one of the governor' proposals. That's basically to bring more funding to bear for the border counties that are particularly impacted by crime and other effects of illegal immigration. Do you support that? Do you think the legislature will?

Ray Barnes:
I think they're obliged to. But I think without doing some enforcement of the border, it's folly. We're trying to pay for the destruction that's been caused and we'll call it destruction. That's a broad term, but the problems that have been caused by illegals. The destruction that's been caused. That's a problem. But if we don't stop the illegals coming across, it doesn't make a difference. We just keep paying.

Michael Grant:
Border counties are being probably disproportionately -- the entire state is being impacted but border counties in particular are being disproportionately impacted. Should they get more state money to compensate for that impact?

Pete Rios:
Without a doubt. The federal government is not going to help, border count us and those cities that border Mexico and the u.s. then Arizona has to step up to the plate and assist them. One of the things that I tried to do a number of years ago is 15 to $18 billion is electronically wired from there country south of the border. I sent a post card to congress asking them, why can't we put a little surcharge on that, build a fund, use that to reimburse those states that have high expenses for hospital costs, jail costs, et cetera. And I did get it out of the senate and never moved in the house.

Michael Grant:
Ironically I think that's also been a suggested funding source for the wall on the border. But we've already touched on that one. What about the legislature? It has been suggested the legislature should expand the package of state benefits that proposition 200 applies to and that illegal immigrants could not qualify for in should that be done?

Pete Rios:
One of the bills that I saw yesterday and was brought to me by Carol Cayman with the children's alliance is a bill that was introduced in the house that basically says that people that are not here legally, undocumented immigrants, should not be protected nor qualify for child protective services. What are we really saying? Are we saying that it's okay for those children to get beat up and abused and neglected, sexually abused and nobody's going to do anything because immigrants? Some of those bills are really, really crazy.

Michael Grant:
Mr. Barnes, as you know, proposition 200 applies to very few actual state benefits. Should the list be expanded?

Ray Barnes:
I think they tried to make it as broad as they possibly could and it was narrowed down when we --

Michael Grant:
But the legislature has the power to muscle it back up if it thinks that wise policy.

Ray Barnes:
I think you're going to see it.

Michael Grant:
All right. Representative Barnes, thank you very much for joining us. Representative Rios, good to see you.

Pete Rios:
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Hoping to soar to new heights, ground was broken Bennett for sky song on Friday. That's a joint effort by Arizona state university, city of Scottsdale and private developers to convert the old loss arcos mall site -- Merry Lucero tills us more about the innovation Scottsdale center.

Merry Lucero:
A trumpet song kicked off the groundbreaking event for sky song, the $320 million project between Arizona state university and the city of Scottsdale. A hot air balloon also marked the height for the site's signature shade structure. ASU Michael Crow says the architecture expresses a vision for what he calls a complicated quest.

Michael Crow:
The quest is to take the 5 c's of the traditional economic strengths of Arizona -- for those of you that didn't keep up with those letters as they evolved, you know, citrus and cattle and climate and all these -- copper, all these things that have been a part of the evolution of the state's economy -- and compress them into one c, one letter. That letter is competitiveness. How do we advance as a community into the world that lies ahead as competitively as we possibly can.

Merry Lucero:
The Scottsdale mayor has said the vision has not been for a separate project but really a community commitment.

Mary Manross:
Sky Song I believe marks a whole new era for Scottsdale. It is a new kind of promise for southern Scottsdale and the future of our community and the valley. And even though sky song will really be international in scope, it's very important and we want to make it very clear that we want to connect carefully and closely, intimately with all the surrounding neighborhoods, the residential, the business neighborhoods that are around this parcel of land, that we want sky song to be an integral part of our community.

Merry Lucero:
Part of the goal of the project is to attract international tenants.

Steve Evans:
And this wasn't a small goal. Let me read you the original goal. Position sky song participants, folks that willing working here, Scottsdale the region and ASU as global leaders in the knowledge of economy.

Merry Lucero:
Two technology firms were announced at the symbolic groundbreaking as confirmed new tenants at sky song.

Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the ASU Scottsdale innovation center also flown as sky song is Sharon Harper. She is president and ceo of the plaza companies which is developing the site. Sharon, good to see you.

Sharon Harper:
Thank you. It's great to be here.

Michael Grant:
Give us a little bit of detail about sky song physically, architecturally first. I know a 6 to 10-year build out is planned. But give us a better idea of what physically would be located at that court.

Sharon Harper:
Well, the idea for sky song is to converge innovation and technology and commerce. And with that kind of a vision and a global vision for the businesses here, the architecture and the design was very important. We knew we wanted to put something together that would innovative in terms of design and would bring people together, pedestrian friendly. So with that understanding we came up with a design team that is exceptional. Nationally or internationally acclaimed -- under the direction of Harry Cobb partnered with dim gem with a very strong local office and that's how the design team came up with what we were doing. The emblematic feature is sky song itself, 125 food shade structure that will not only be a place that -- well, a designation for people to come and see but will create shade and an area where people will gather underneath. The idea of people interacting, pedestrian streets, the retail at the ground level ant this 1.2 million square feet of office and research and innovation space.

Michael Grant:
Somebody called it an intellectual runway for our region. Explain to me what that means.

Sharon Harper:
Well, doctor crow said it right. Competitiveness is really where the state of Arizona needs to be. And sky song is the epitome of how this innovation business can take place. The education component. The linkage with ASU, the linkages throughout the world through this global for stall, the commerce, the innovative companies who have announced that coming to sky song and others who will. They want to be on the cutting edge. And we believe that sky song will attract those kinds of companies and Arizona will grow in its stature in terms of being innovative and on the front end of new business. The knowledge economy, if you will.

Michael Grant:
I suppose that any large multiuse office complex probably is angling for a lot of the same kind of clientele. I mean, we'd like to have international companies locate here, high tech companies and others. What is it that sky song you think brings to that mix that perhaps some of those other potential competitors do not?

Sharon Harper:
Well, certainly the creative and thoughtful design and the integration in the greater community. The linkages if you will to Indian ben wash on one side, Papago park. We know the new creative class worker as it's sometimes described work all hours of the day and night and want these connections. But even more than that is the distinctive feature that ASU brings to sky song. There is an interaction that will take place between ASU and various units in the university and the businesses that will call sky song home. You, ASU is very connected with all businesses in the region but it will be something different here. And what's what sets it apart.

Michael Grant:
Let's see if we can't illustrate that point. You were telling me before we went on the air that e. Funds, a company with a number of locations, is one of the tenants. How does that work in tandem with the university?

Sharon Harper:
It's a great example. E funds is a cutting edge company involved in every electronic fund transaction taking place throughout the world.

Michael Grant:
These are people that for example provide security for credit cards.

Sharon Harper:
Security, credit cards, bank transactions, national security contracts. And they were very attracted to this site because of this innovative, imagine tiff focus that will take place here. Companies need to be on the cutting edge. They need to be changing, evolving. And e funds, a tremendous company, 17 locations around the world, saw this as a place where innovation, cutting edge thinking and interaction would take place that would enhance their company. Also, Michael, let me just go on to say that involvement with ASU was very important to e funds. The students coming out of ASU, the masters in electronics, computer sciences, the work force of tomorrow. That talent is very important.

Michael Grant:
So for example, a research project might come to the campus of e funds is interested in, we'd like to see this developed and then a research product moved back to them at sky song with interconnections.

Sharon Harper:
That's a great example. Or if there's a certain kind of technology or training that e funds needs together next level in their business, ASU with their involvement here will create that kind of a class or that kind of environment or that kind of a program to accommodate the kinds of things that maybe we don't even know about yet that e funds or other companies will need to have or want to have. That kind of interaction and linkage with ASU is exceptional. As a matter of fact, ASU has announced that they would have a concierge, something that I don't think has happened around the country. And that service will link the needs of the companies at sky song with the students, faculty, the programs, the languages that would be helpful and to help improve their businesses and keep them really on the front end.

Michael Grant:
Sharon Harper, thank you very much for joining us. Best of luck on it.

Sharon Harper:
Thank you.

Michael Sauceda:
The battle rage he is at the state capitol over funding education programs for English learners. The governor has vetoed at least two bills passed by lawmakers as the state works to avoid fines from the federal government. Also we'll hear from the director of federal corrections to pay more for her officers. That's Thursday at 7 on horizon.

Michael Grant:
Thank you very much for joining us on a Wednesday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one. Good night. ¶¶[music]¶¶

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