Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 7, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Everything you know is wrong


  • John Stossel, ABC News’ 20/20 co-anchor discusses his recent book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel—Why Everything You Know is Wrong, his investigation of America's public education system
Guests:
  • Russell Pearce - State Representative, Republican


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on horizon, the state legislature last week passed an immigration bill that would include a trespassing law and additional funds for local authorities, but governor Janet Napolitano vetoed the measure, and legislators are reacting. Tonight we'll talk with lawmakers about this new bill and the possibility voters may see the measure on the November election ballot. Then, ABC's 20/20 co-anchor John Stossel talks about his new book and his findings on the nation's public education system. All this, next, on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Good evening, welcome to horizon. I'm Michael Grant. In our headlines tonight -- Representative Ray Barnes is getting ready for surgery. On Monday, Barnes suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the floor of the state house of representatives. Colleagues were able to perform CPR and revive him before he was taken to St. Joseph's hospital. Doctors say he will undergo triple bypass surgery tomorrow morning.

Michael Grant:
And a new drug scandal is rocking baseball, and this time it concerns a diamondback. Today the diamondbacks released pitcher Jason Grimsley, one day after federal agents searched his home as part of an investigation into steroid use by ballplayers. Grimsley had asked to be released by the team, and today Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrne's said he accepted that request. Federal documents show Grimsley admitted to taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs. He also identified several other major league baseball players by name, whom he suspected of using steroids or the human growth hormone.

Michael Grant:
This week the legislature passed house bill 2577, an immigration bill, which would criminalize the physical presence of an illegal alien in Arizona. It also called for the removal of employer sanctions and would provide additional funding toward local police to assist with the arrest of illegal immigrants. Yesterday, governor Napolitano vetoed that bill, calling it a weak and ineffective illegal immigration bill. The GOP now says they will work toward putting that bill on the November ballot. And here to talk about the bill is the sponsor of house bill 2577, states Representative Russell Pearce. And also here with us is democratic state Representative Steve Gallardo. Welcome to both of you.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Thank you.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
We have never discussed this issue on the show so it is nice to finally get to it.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
New topic. [Laughter]

Michael Grant:
Rep. Pearce, governor focused on three provisions of the bill and let's take them in sequence. She says, "the bill offers full amnesty for employers who hire illegal immigrants." what do you say?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Such -- such a misstatement. I mean absolutely fallacious. It has mandatory audits in it. Let me read to you the federal law. They keep playing this game and the federal law, rarely are we preempted by federal law. We enforce federal regulation. Bank robbery and immigration laws. Except where preempted. The preemption, which is the employer sanctions area, says the provisions of this section preempt any state or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions other than through licensing and similar laws upon those who employ or recruit or refer for fee for employment unauthorized aliens. This allows us to do everything we need to do.

Michael Grant:
I think the knock on the provisions is two-fold. Number one, it requires that the employer be acting knowingly, which is difficult to prove, and number two, that the employer can get completely off the hook simply by firing the person.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Not true. Let me explain the law. There is misstatement and the fallacious comments, absolutely mistruths. This law requires mandatory audits. State agencies with contracts to the agencies to use the pilot verification program offered by the federal government to verify a legal person of the United States. Revocations and suspensions in the bill. That is the death penalty of the business. Where he gives you some break -- we must prove you knew because there is good fraudulent documents out there and if they have something that they think is an honest person and they prove through the audit you have someone illegally in the country, you must fire them.

Michael Grant:
Well, I want to --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Let me finish. We only provide a sanctuary when you followed the law and have no knowledge that is an illegal alien. If you are wrong and hired someone knowingly --

Michael Grant:
You can't get off the hook?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Absolutely not.

Michael Grant:
If you --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
In addition to the federal law --

Michael Grant:
Okay.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
The penalty is 2,000 to 5,000 per employee or suspension of license and the federal requirements.

Michael Grant:
Let's let representative Gallardo jump in here. He says you can't get off the hook by simply firing the person.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
And let me first start off by saying the governor has repeatedly asked Mr. Pearce and some of the legislative leadership to come down --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
That is not true.

Rep. Steve Gallardo: --
She has repeatedly asked that.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Nobody has asked me. It's not true.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
She sent a letter to the speaker and president of the senate asking for some type of sitting down and coming up --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Not true.

Michael Grant: --
To the point.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Going back to the issue --

Michael Grant:
To the point.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Under this provision, it would allow an employer who knowingly or had someone who is undocumented who is working on their behalf to go ahead and terminate. Once they make that termination, they are done with. It allows the employer to go back and hire someone else who may be undocumented. It does not prevent employers from hiring undocumented. When we talk about the penalties, we want not so much penalties on employers because there is that preemption. We can provide a surcharge on the business license for those employers that continue to violate the law.

Michael Grant:
Isn't canceling somebody's business license the death penalty? Do you need a stronger penalty than that?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
That is if you get to that point.

Michael Grant:
But that is severe sanctions, is it not?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
And that is if you get to that point. Under this provision, if an employer hires someone, they terminate them and let them go and it is a done deal.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Also, employer section that if you pay under the table and don't report them to worker's comp you get mandatory jail time. This is the greatest lie --

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Until --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Tell you about the 9th floor and the pundits want to repeat it.

Michael Grant:
If the employer fires someone and the employee sues, the state would indemnify the employer for the cost of the suit.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Let me explain simply. There is several lawsuits in the nation going on right now that are firing -- that are suing people because they fired an illegal alien under the 1964 civil rights act even though it is illegal, it is a felony to hire them. All the provision says, if you fired them based on the law, in other words, we are saying you must fire them, you find out that that employee and there is a provision in there that allows them to appeal that, if you know the guy is legal and you got a mismatch on a social security number running under the program there is an appeal process that says the guy is legal and we provide that. Knowingly, the standard of knowing is a tough standard but it has always been the burden of government to prove guilt, not have you guilty. And so if you do that, we are just saying that we will step up and help in terms of if you are sued for following the law, for firing someone under the 1964 --

Michael Grant:
Pretty unique indemnification. Could you think of any other level where the state steps in?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Can you think of any other area we had 100,000 illegals marching in the streets demanding rights? Sued by aliens and lost the ranch? Can you name any other issue that has risen to this level of threatening every United States citizen every time they act in compliance of the law? We have done it to protect employers so they can fire the people they need to fire.

Michael Grant:
What do you think about the indemnification provisions?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
There is no other area in which this type of issue or indemnification applies. This particular bill was not worked out with the county attorneys or attorney general's office. This was crafted by the business community. The legislative leadership met with the business community to work out the issues, not with the folks enforcing it. That is one point to point out.

Michael Grant:
Some Republican lawmakers say that business doesn't like this bill.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
They fought me for four years.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
The whole idea of employee sanctions is a big problem and something that needs to be addressed but it has to be done rationally and addressed correctly. We have to bring in the attorney general's office, those folks that are going to enforce the provision and sit everyone at the table and come up with something that is realistic and practical. These particular provisions are not --

Michael Grant:
Let me -- let me go to the criminal trespass provisions because that was another major element raised by the governor. She says it is unconstitutional. But more importantly representative Gallardo, she says the vast majority of the law enforcement community opposes it. Do you see any value at all, however, sponsors, I think in part were saying we have this problem with catch and release.

Michael Grant:
And we have seen it a number of times around the valley and around the state where local law enforcement gets a van of illegal immigrants, notifies border patrol, border patrol never shows up and they have no option whatsoever, just turn them loose and one day they were running around in backyards in mesa. Wouldn't this give law enforcement a tool to deal with the catch and release situation?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
It would. But I think that would be the only task that law enforcement would be able to do. In terms of trying to do the other responsibilities, this would add another layer of burden to an already overburdened law enforcement. I believe when you start talking about catch and release it becomes a federal problem. The federal government has dropped the ball and needs to work on that particular part of it. When you start talking about the criminal trespassing, you are talking about a whole gamut of problems. Local law enforcement to come out and this is not the right way of dealing with it.

Michael Grant:
Wouldn't you agree with me the federal government has dropped the ball in this thing?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
They have.

Michael Grant:
Do we need more local and state tools to deal with it?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
They have dropped the ball, but they are currently working on it. You have seen the president come out to Yuma, Arizona to take a look at the actual border. He was in New Mexico. There is an issue there in terms of catch and release, but the federal government has to deal with it on the level of I.C.E. and extra border patrol.

Michael Grant:
Why criminalize illegal --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
First of all, it's already a criminal violation. Secondly, this criminal trespass provision was written in a permissive and secondary nature and says you must have legitimate contact with an individual.

Michael Grant:
For some other reason --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Whatever contact, you have the right to ask and act. All we are putting into statute, a state statute that provides an opportunity to use the law. Permissive. Discretion on first offense. A tool to some of the sheriffs that some have asked for. I wrote it in a manner not to tie their hands but take the handcuffs off their hands and allow them to work. When you talk about the federal government's responsibility, again, what a purported lie. The federal government --

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
It is not the federal responsibility?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
It is everybody's responsibility. That is what you need to recognize. The 5th, 8th, 10th, 9th circuit courts ruled that the states have inherent authority to enforce the laws. The congress is going to act after 20 years is just not accurate.

Michael Grant:
What about --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Miles apart. Nothing may happen.

Michael Grant:
What about the ruling by a New Hampshire court that a similar statute there was unconstitutional?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
They applied a statute that wasn't written for that purpose and applied it. It is not binding to Arizona. Again, we have decisions every day where one court says this and one court says that. They can't agree amongst themselves. That is not applicable to Arizona. We have written this with the United States law to make sure it is constitutional.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
The actual cost to incarcerate the folks will be millions. Millions. Millions.

Michael Grant:
I understand the approach, though. That the -- the approach is not necessarily to incarcerate these people. It is designed to solve the catch and release.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
There are actually penalties involved, the minimum of 6 months.

Michael Grant:
When border patrol finally showed up, you could turn them over to the feds.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
It says that in the statute.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
No, if that was the case, then I think we have a different issue, but we also have the issues of racial profiling, we have the issue of the chilling effect.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
All that is --

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
The actual cost to local law enforcement to implement this is insurmountable. These are issues that we need to address.

Michael Grant:
I want to make sure that I get to another subject. Republican --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Statements that are simply not true.

Michael Grant:
But we have a limited amount of time here.

Michael Grant:
Republican lawmakers considering sending this package to November's ballot.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
I said all along, this is a number one issue. We have a crisis. This side never has a solution or answer. Talk drive-by statement, but never a solution, never to enforce the law, never to go after employers, never to secure the border. It is always somebody else's job. We waited 20 years. It is the number one issue in Arizona and in the nation. The billions of dollars in crime. I read a report today of hundreds of thousands of child molesters among the illegal aliens. Arizona is number one in crime. When do we get involved? Ignore the responsibility to our citizens?

Michael Grant:
Rep. Rep. Russell Pearce thinks it should go to the November ballot.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Absolutely. 87 percent of public think we should be enforcing the law and the borders. You have a governor that refuses to do anything about it.

Michael Grant:
Do you have the votes to do that?

Rep. Russell Pearce:
That is what I will find out. I have a proposal. Our leadership is supportive and has been supportive all along. The republican caucus recognized this as the number one issue. Most agree it ought to go to the ballot. We will make that decision what parts.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
We have to stop playing the political games.

Michael Grant:
What do you think about that?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Strictly political games. If they are serious about dealing with the immigration problem, they would sit down with the governor and with the federal authorities and come up with an absolutely comprehensive immigration reform package that is realistic and practical. There is a lot of false statements.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Want to go through it?

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
I would be happy to.

Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo, our polls indicated 2/3 to 3/4 of people supported concepts like the national guard on the border, stiff employer sanctions.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
I agree. Folks want strong immigration reform and realistic comprehensive immigration reform and strong employer sanctions. Not something that looks bad on paper. That is what we have.

Rep. Russell Pearce:
Looking for amnesty.

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
And this is not -- The real issue --

Rep. Russell Pearce:
That is an issue. This employer sanctions and eliminates-- 50 million for radar, 10 million for the National Guard, 56 million for local grassroots enforcement. 20 million get them on gang and immigration enforcement border patrol. You know, stop frivolous lawsuits.

Michael Grant:
Representative Russell --

Rep. Steve Gallardo:
Enough is enough.

Michael Grant:
Representative Rep. Rep. Russell Pearce, we are completely out of time. Thank you very much. Representative Steve Gallardo, thanks to you as well.

Michael Grant:
You have probably seen John Stossel in his role as co-anchor for 20/20. The correspondent is well known for the many "give me a break" segments seen on the show and in specials. Stossel recently spoke at the Ritz Carlton for the Goldwater institute. Producer Larry Lemmons talked with Stossel about his new book and education.

Larry Lemmons:
What did you talk about at the Goldwater institute?

John Stossel:
Talking about how I learned to see the benefits of freedom and more individual liberty, less government telling you what to do.

Larry Lemmons:
Specifically, didn't you mention something about public education?

John Stossel:
Well, this aspect I talked about today, this from my myth book is that the myth that the public schools need to be run by a government monopoly when they have failed all over the world, why would we subject the children to that. I did a show called "stupid in America" on 20/20 pointing out where there is choice the kids do better and how the countries that beat us on the national tests assign the money to the kid to take to a government school or private school or religious school and that competition makes them all better. The principal in Belgium said if we don't do better, the parents will take them someplace else and I will lose my job and that makes us get rid of the teachers who can't teach. Well, shouldn't we do that in America?

Larry Lemmons:
What would you say to people who say yes, the United States is about competition and we like competition but public schools were created so that -- well, it becomes basically the great leveler.

John Stossel:
Because it is not a leveler now. The public schools are more segregated now than the private schools. People say we have the best education system in America, it is the melting pot, but it is really a lie because the rich people move to the neighborhood with the better schools. And the kids who can't afford that or whose parents don't give a damn get stuck in really bad schools that never close no matter how bad they are.

Larry Lemmons:
What would you suggest be done? Promote competition in public education or in education?

John Stossel:
In education. Could be public or private. In Arizona, you are spending $8,500 per kid. In the classroom, that is $200,000 per classroom. Think what you could do with that money. Hire two great teachers but because it is a government monopoly and they always fail their customers the money is being squandered. Attach the money to the kids. There would be Costco schools and sports schools and computer schools and even the kids whose parents don't care would have better alternatives.

Larry Lemmons:
How would you suggest accountability be proven?

John Stossel:
Well, in that question you are talking like a politician as if accountability comes from the mayor, you can throw the mayor out if you don't like the education system. That is not real accountability. That is once every four years. Parents getting pissed off and saying this school isn't good, I'm going to pull my kid out is far better accountability than some politician in phoenix or Washington saying we have these rules.

Larry Lemmons:
Let's talk about your book. Some of the things seem to be common sense to people. Give us a couple of examples that you find really stupid.

John Stossel:
Well, that you can't marry your cousin. It is illegal in half the states for an old fear and respect for a phrase in the bible that was much more interpreted. You are more likely to have a birth defect having a child after age 40 than having a child with your cousin, or that your dog's mouth is cleaner than yours. Look at what he does with his mouth.

Larry Lemmons:
I would rather not.

John Stossel:
And they think it is clean.

Larry Lemmons:
Right.

John Stossel:
But there are 200 myths in here, and one myth is that I know how to dress. Can you believe I wore these pants on a book cover for photo shoot?

Larry Lemmons:
They also gave me the wrong kind of shovel for the concept of get the shovel, why everything you know is wrong.

Larry Lemmons:
How did the term gimme a break come about? Is this something that you came up with and decided to use it or something that was accidental and you ran with it?

John Stossel:
They handed it to Arnie Diaz the consumer reporter and he didn't like it, so I said I'll run with some of those.

Larry Lemmons:
People have been going on believing things for a long period of time and know that maybe it is not quite right but here is someone saying it is not right and here is why it is not right and I think a lot of people found that refreshing.

John Stossel:
I was a consumer reporter for 15 years bashing business and winning applause from my colleagues. And then I got smarter and saw that the government regulation that I was cheering on wasn't making it better for consumers. It was just burdening everyone else with a spider web of rules and the cheats selling the breast enlargers and burn fat while you sleep pills kept cheating but everybody else was burdened by it. And I started to look at my reporting and how we are scaring people about the trivial risks and celebrate the government that wasn't -- celebrating the government that wasn't making us safer and taxing us heavily and I started saying give me a break. I have a chapter here called "clueless media" because when it comes to economics the media are largely clueless. And I was.

Larry Lemmons:
I guess you feel that some journalists felt that when you moved away from criticizing business to criticizing government they changed their attitudes about you.

John Stossel:
I won 19 Emmy awards criticizing business. Now that I realized business can't use force, only government and lawyers can use force and they do more harm, no Emmys. My colleagues don't -- it's icky, I don't like that idea.

Larry Lemmons:
To what do you attribute that?

John Stossel:
People don't like -- the system has lifted more people out of the mud and misery than any ever is vilified.

Larry Lemmons:
What is in the future for John Stossel?

John Stossel:
I'm just on the book tour for lies, myths and downright stupidity and hope to keep doing 20/20.

Larry Lemmons:
Thanks for speaking with us today.

John Stossel:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
If you would like a transcript of tonight's show or would like to see what future topics will be on our program, log onto our website at www.azpbs.org, and click on "horizon." now, a look at what's on tomorrow.

Mike Sauceda:
Extreme heat started early this year in the valley and can be dangerous as the sun beats down relentlessly. Find out more about the summer weather and how to handle it. Meet Orde Felix Kittrie, one of the country's most prestigious educators in the area of international policy. Learn more about the ASU educator Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Michael Grant:
After "Horizon," stay tuned for ‘Horizonte'. Talking about Arizona's antiterrorist funding cut. Will this make Arizona vulnerable to terrorist attack or other disaster? Tomorrow at 7:30. Thanks for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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