Are Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Calling for the Resurgence of the Arizona Boycott?

Editor August 7, 2014 0

By Manuel de Jesús Hernández G.

The current crop of Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidates is candidly illustrating the problems with the current primary election system. Everyone knows that they only pander to the extreme right to get on the ballot…. It is pathetic and, quite frankly, disingenuous and dishonest.
—Dan Lindell, Phoenix, The Arizona Republic (July 28, 2014), A 13


Since the first GOP gubernatorial debate held at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort on Wednesday,June 25, 2014, all the GOP governor hopefuls, except Scott Smith, have engaged in a blatant, anti-immigrant campaign that remind Arizonans of two things: 1) Russell Pearce’s racist legislative fight to write and pass SB 1070 and 2) Pearce’s indirect mentoring of an opportunist candidate named Jan Brewer who signed said law because she wanted to be re-elected as Governor. Have the Republican candidates forgotten that Pearce’s and Brewer’s anti-migrant actions led to a highly successful economic boycott of Arizona organized by Arizona Latinos and their supporters in the state and across the country? That is, are Republican gubernatorial candidates calling for the resurgence of the Arizona Boycott?

Tamed Republican Interest Prior to June 25 Candidates’ Debate

Republican Arizonans showed tamed interest in immigration up to said gubernatorial debate. In fact, the audience present at the debate by the six Republican hopefuls—Scott Smith, Frank Riggs, Doug Ducey, Christine Jones, Ken Bennett, Andrew Thomas—chose jobs and the economy as their main concerns. Education, health care, and immigration and border security came in second (Olalde A 5). However, contrary to the audience’s interests, disbarred Andrew Thomas distastefully offered red meat by claiming that immigrants spread disease, take away jobs, and threaten the American Way of life (Olalde A 5). In “riding the immigration horse the hardest” (Robb A 22), political newcomer Christine Jones called for 1,200 Guardsmen to the border and millions of dollars to county sheriffs (Robb A 22).

A review of the news articles, opinions, and letters to the editors in The Arizona Republic and USA Today since the June 25 debate, documents a crass competition among the Republican gubernatorial candidates, except Scott Smith, regarding who is the most anti- immigrant candidate (Montini, “Governor” A 3; Sanchez and Olalde A1; Robb A 22; Dokes A 13; Editorial: ““Governor’s” F 5). Ducey and Jones have engaged in a media campaign to see who is the reddest, anti-child migrant. And, Thomas has released an anti-Mexican and racist video via television and YouTube, particularly since 88% of the asylum-seeking children are Central American (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) and the 12% who are Mexican get immediately deported. Ironically, by May 31, 2014, the federal government was considering ending their challenge to tough Arizona immigration laws (Billeaud A 10).

Republican Rehabilitation of Russell Pearce and Paul Babeu

Such virulent anti-child immigrant climate has included the rehabilitation of two immediate past anti-immigrants: Russell Pearce, who was recalled from office, and Paul Babeu, whose sex-scandal with an undocumented lover denied him a congressional seat (Ferguson). Babeu incited the anti-child migrant demonstration at Oracle, Arizona, (Roberts A 3 and Editorial: “Irresponsible Sheriff” A 22) and has been praised for his anti-immigrant stance by Christine Jones. Pearce was interviewed by the media at the demonstration in Oracle, Arizona, and he was rehired by the state government at the tune of $85,000 per year (Sanchez A 7). Involved in a high speed-chase that resulted in the death of John Harding, Pearce’s son, Sean Pearce, has not faced any charges from Maricopa County District Attorney Bill Montgomery (Cassidy A 5 and Garcia), who owns his election as Maricopa County Attorney to Russell Pearce’s passage of SB 1070. Meanwhile, Pearce has filed to prevent that his emails on SB 1070 not be disclosed (“Pearce Seeks End” A 26).

Another Republican who may have benefited from the child humanitarian crisis is John Huppenthal, the current Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. Publicly exposed for being racially intolerant and wanting to banish the Spanish language, he claimed, in a recent Republican candidate’s debate, credit for closing down the program Mexican American Studies (Christie A 5)—an anti-Mexican American action linked to the passage of SB 1070 in 2010.

Pro-immigrant and Pro-civil Rights Activists Concerned

Many pro-immigrant and pro-civil rights activists have begun to voice concerns in their organizations over the unbridled anti-immigrant campaign on the part of the Republican gubernatorial candidates. It is Ducey, Jones, Riggs, and Thomas who are fanning the flames of anti-immigrant hysteria. In contrast, the Tea party, inspired by the 300 demonstrators who showed up at Murrieta, California, failed to rekindle the Arizonan anti-immigrant movement in Oracle on Tuesday, July 15 (Dale and Holstege A 11) and in the Arizona State Capitol on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19. In each anti-child migrant event, only about a maximum of 75 adult demonstrators showed up. At the two-day event outside the Capitol building, Tea Party members complained why they were not joined by thousands of Arizona workers and the senior-citizen residents of Sun City, who regularly re-elect Joe Arpaio as Maricopa County Sheriff.

In reality, there is no immigration crisis in Arizona. Comparing our state with other border states, Arizona is privileged in the area of enforcement. Around 6000 border-patrol agents guard the 389 miles Arizona shares with Mexico. In contrast, Texas only has 3000 border patrol agents who prevent illegal entry along a 1200-mile border with Mexico. Moreover, the great majority of the child migrants crossed the border in Texas and turned themselves to the Border Patrol. In Arizona, there has been a 4% decrease in unaccompanied minors apprehended (“Obama Asks” 5B).

If some migrant kids were sent to Arizona detention centers, it is because our state has many facilities built from the late 1990s to 2010 when the federal government under George W. Bush and Obama channeled extensive resources. To an extent, it is highly ironic that the anti-child migrant demonstrators at Oracle and the Arizona Capitol—around 75 at each gathering site—were opposed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) housing in Arizona 40 arrested children at the Texas border. In further hypocritical profit from the anti-immigrant movement, a Pinal County jail asked ICE to pay a higher daily rate per undocumented detainee: $87.96 from $59.64 (Associated Press A 3).

Arizona Boycott Never Called Off

Many activists say the Arizona Boycott was never called off. It was de-emphasized after many sensible Arizonans rose and effected three things: 1) Russell Pearce was recalled as President of the Arizona Senate,  2) Andrew Thomas failed to be elected Arizona Attorney General, and the federal government set limits on Joe Arpaio’s practice of racial profiling. In fact, the Comités en Defensa del Barrio (CDB) have been actively promoting the Arizona Boycott across the country.

Activists recognize that the Arizona Boycott was instrumental in stopping the passage of a series of anti-immigrant and anti-Latino laws by the post-SB 1070 Arizona legislature, especially with the engagement of the Arizona business community. Thus, they call upon members of such community to stand up once again to anti-immigrant extremists: in this case, the Republican gubernatorial candidates, cynically using the humanitarian crisis made up of Central American child migrants, feed and nurture the Arizona anti-immigrant sentiment in order to benefit themselves at the polls. In such context, the support of Dough Ducey’s gubernatorial candidacy on the part of Lea Marquez Peterson, who heads the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is highly questionable and counterproductive to trade with Sonora and the rest of Mexico (Editorial: “Ducey Best” F 6).

Renewed Trade with Mexico and Bringing Back the Arizona Boycott: A Dire Proposition

What about the recent efforts to reconnect and reinforce trade with Sonora and Mexico? What about the thousands of dollars already invested for opening an Arizona trade office in Mexico City? Will such major investment go to waste? Regarding all the US border states with Mexico, Texas has the largest trade with our Mexican neighbor. Although it is the state of the country with the largest population (33 million people), California comes second as a trade partner with Mexico. The reason: California lost major Mexican trade to Texas after the passage of Proposition187 in 1994. We need to recall that in continuing to support SB 1070 and being anti-Mexican, Governor Jan Brewer travelled to China and other foreign countries to seek new trading partners yet came back empty handed. In reality, she reluctantly realized that Sonora is Arizona’s natural trading partner. Four of the six Republican gubernatorial candidates were born outside of Arizona: Andrew Thomas, Long Beach, California; Doug Ducey, Toledo, Ohio; Christine Jones, Denver, Colorado; and Frank Riggs, Louisville, Kentucky. The other two, Ken Bennett and Scott Smith, were both born in Tucson, Arizona. Regarding the six candidates and their position on immigration after the June 25 debate at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Republican columnist Robert Robb would say that Smith is the sensible one: solving immigration questions involves collaborating with the federal government, that is, Obama (A 22). The others, a sheer majority born out of state, like the bitter and politically weakened Tom Horne, are caught up in wishful thinking on the border. Activists ask then, why do the five of them—Ducey, Jones, Thomas, Riggs, and Bennett—want a resurgence of the Arizona Boycott?


Works Cited

Associated Press. “ICE Won’t Pay Pinal More for Jail Use:Jobs in Jeopardy as County’s Deal to House Detainees Frays.” The Arizona Republic (Friday, July 18,2014): A 3.

Billeaud, Jacques. “Feds May End Their Challenge to Tough Arizona Immigration Law.” The Arizona Republic (Saturday, May 31, 2014): A 10. Note: Legal struggle on SB 1070 continues.

Cassidy, Megan. “No Decision Yet on Charges for MCSO Deputy in Crash.” Arizona Republic (Tuesday, May 13, 2014): A 5. Note: Article looks into Deputy Sean Pearce, Russell Pearce’s son.

Christie, Bob. “Huppenthal and Hopeful Douglass Debate Schools.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 5.  Note: In Republican debate, Huppenthal takes credit for eliminating a Tucson schools ethnic-studies program.

Dale, Mariana; and Sean Holstege. “Everyone Showed Up at Protest in Oracle But Busload of Migrant Kids.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A11. Republican congressional candidate Adam Kwasman makes dire mistake.

Dokes, Jennifer. “GOP Candidates Know Crass Politics Play Well.” The Arizona Republic (Monday, July 14, 2014): A 13.

Editorial: “Ducey Best Republican for Job.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 27,2014): F 6.

Editorial: “Governor’s Challenge: Budget, not Border.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): F 5.

Editorial: “Irresponsible Sheriff Stirs Migrant Storm.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 22.

Ferguson, David. “AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu Drops Out of Congressional Race”.  Friday May 11, 2012.

Garcia, Nicole. “No Charges for MCSO Deputy in High Speed Fatal Accident”.  Monday, July 28, 2014.

Montini, E.J. “Governor Candidates Picture Republican Voters in Dunce Caps.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, July 10, 2014): A 3. Note: Republican candidates and border pronouncements.

Olalde, Mark. “GOP Governor Hopefuls Spar over Policy Ideas.” The Arizona Republic (Friday, June 27, 2014): A 25. SPA 471. “Pearce Seeks End to Subpoena Rift.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 26. Note: Immigrant-rights groups request to see all emails by Pearce on SB 1070.

Robb, Robert. “Candidates Caught Up in Wishful Thinking on Border.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 9, 2014): A 22. Note: Republican Candidates, Border, and SB 1070.

Roberts, Laurie. “Helpless Children a No-Show, Ruining Babeu’s Photo Op.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 3.

Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett. “Russell Pearce Gets $85,000-a-year Job with County.” The Arizona Republic (Tuesday, July 15, 2014): A 7. Note: Job offered by County Treasurer Charles “Hoss” Hoskins.

Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett; and Mark Olalde. “Border Crisis Surges to the Forefront of Governor Race.” The Arizona Republic (Friday, July 11, 2014): A 1 and 8.

Thomas, Andrew. Monday, July 28, 2014.

Works Consulted

Cassidy, Megan. “No Decision Yet on Charges for MCSO Deputy in Crash.” Arizona Republic (Tuesday, May 13, 2014): A 5. Note: Deputy Sean Pearce is Russell Pearce’s son. Corsino, Sam. “Pearce Keeps Turning Up with Help of Politicians.” The Arizona Republic (Friday, July 18, 2014): A 17. Letter to the Editor.

Dale, Mariana; and Sean Holstege. “Everyone Showed Up at Protest in Oracle But Busload of Migrant Kids.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 11. Note: Republican congressional candidate Adam Kwasman makes dire mistake.

Dokes, Jennifer. “Ex-Senator Pearce is Best Man for Job? Think Again, Hos.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 23.

Editorial. “Immigration Solution is Worthy of ‘Dilbert’.” The Arizona Republic (Monday, June 2, 2014): A-14.

Editorial: “Stop this March of Children.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): F 5. Note: Editorial blames several sources (2008 law, children and mothers, smugglers, violence in homelands) and asks for a solution to stop flow (Obama’s early request to change 2008 law, McCain and Flake legislation, Obama action).

González, Daniel. “Food, Water, Smiles Greet Migrants Shipped to Arizona.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, June 4, 2014): A-1 and 17.

González, Daniel. “Migrants Arrested in Texas Released in Arizona.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, May 29, 2014): A-1 and 14.

González, Daniel. “Waiting to Surrender Pipeline of Children.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 1 and 8-9.

González, Daniel. “Migrant Moms: Central American Mothers and Children Flowing into the U.S. ….” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 7.

González, Daniel; and Bob Ortega. “Flood of Humanity.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): A 31-35.

González, Daniel; and Bob Ortega. “Pipeline of Children: An Arizona Republic Special Report.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): A 1. Note: With reporting on location from: Bob Ortega and Michael Chow, El Salvador Guatemala and Mexico; Daniel González and David Wallace, Río Grande Valley, Texas, and Reynosa, Mexico; Michael Kiefer and Nick Oza, Nogales, Arizona; Mariana Dale and David Kadlubowski, Murrieta, California: Erin Kelly, Washington D.C.

Graydon, Jeanne. “Pearce is not Qualified for His New County Job.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, July 17, 2014): A 15. Letter to the Editor.

Kelly, Erin. “Senator Coburn Urges U.S. to Immediately Deport Kids to Help Halt Surge.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, July 10, 2014): A 14. Others mentioned:Tom Carper and John McCain.

McKee, David. “Time for New Blood in Arizona Republican Party.” The Arizona Republic (Saturday, July 12, 2014): F 5. Letter to the Editor.

Montini, E. J. “New Border Crisis Could Mean Reprise of SB 1070.” The Arizona Republic (Tuesday, June 10, 2014): A 3.

Nowicki, Dan. “Flake, McCain among Republicans Using Disputed Claim that Most Young Migrants Will Skip Hearings.” The Arizona Republic (Saturday, July 12, 2014): A 1 and 15.

“Obama Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion.” USA Today / The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): 5 B. Note: Graph details migration increases along US-Mexico border. Arizona sector is only decline. Shows how money will be spent.

Olalde, Mark. “Gubernatorial Candidates All Have Plans for Border Security.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): A 12.

Olalde, Mark. “U.S. Funds Media Blitz to Slow Immigrant Surge: Ads in Central America Warn against Trying to Cross the Border.” The Arizona Republic (Wednesday, July 16, 2014): A 10. Note: Launched on July 7, an 11-week, $ 1 million U.S. Customs and Border Protection media blitz has begun in Central America and certain US cities(Houston, LA, New York, Miami, and Washington DC). It includes billboards, radio ads, a pop song and TV commercials. Public service announcements will air 6,500 times on 12 TV stations and 21 radio stations in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Of the 233 billboards, about 40 will be in southern Mexico on heavily-trafficked routes. Embassies and State Department offices in Central America are also in play as they work with community leaders, churches and other local groups to disseminate the initiative’s warning. Experts debate future effectiveness.

Ortega, Bob. “House Panel Grills Homeland Head.” The Arizona Republic (Friday, May 30, 2014): A-8.

Robb, Robert. “Attack Ads against Ducey Miss Mark Widly.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): F 4 and 6.

Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett. “Investigations into Horne’s Campaign Keep Mounting.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, July 10, 2014): A 1 and 20.

Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett; Daniel González, and Alia Beard Rau. “No evidence for Brewer Claim that Deferred Action Led to Crisis at Border.” The Arizona Republic (Thursday, July 10, 2014): A 13.

Sanders, Rebekah L. “Congressional Candidates Weigh in on How to Handle Migrant-kids Crisis.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): A 5.

“Undocumented Migrants Flown to Arizona from Texas.” The Arizona Republic (Saturday, May 31, 2014): A-3.

Valdez, Linda. “Central American Migrant Kids Should be Treated as Refugees.” The Arizona Republic (Sunday, July 13, 2014): F 4 and 6. Note: Asks for a Marshall Plan in Central America.