Guest Editorial

By Russell Pearce   |  SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

A victory for Arizona and America

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Russell PearceWhat a refreshing change it is when a judge issues a common-sense ruling that honors both the will of the voters and our Constitution. 

Let’s remember that what most of us recognize as common sense was still the end result of a very long and public struggle. So it goes in our nation today that upholding even the most fundamental of principles requires such an effort.

1996 No Driver License illegal aliens, for anyone who cannot prove legal presence in the United States and have verifiable ID. 

2004; Protect Arizona NOW, known as Prop 200, "Arizona Taxpayers and Citizens Protection Act," that does three simple things:

•          Proof of citizenship to register to vote. The U.S. Constitution established more than 200 years ago that only citizens may vote. 

•          Photo I.D. When voting. Photo I.D. Is required to cash a check, apply for welfare, sign a lease, or get a rental card at a video store. 

•          Proof of eligibility to receive non-federal mandated public benefits. Proof of eligibility before you can get free taxpayer benefits.

As the author of Prop. 200, I am proud that Arizona was the first state to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Prop 200 also called for ID at the polls in order to cast your ballot, and it was passed overwhelmingly by the voters. And no free taxpayer/welfare benefits. “Of course it did!” Who would oppose such a thing? You would be amazed… More than $1.5 million was spent to defeat it by an unseemly collection of interest groups: The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, League of Women Voters, Friendly House, ACLU, Chicanos Por La Causa and other assorted leftists and members of the “Profits over Patriotism” crowd all banded together. 

We watched as over 100,000 people, many illegal aliens themselves, marched in our streets in Phoenix displaying their slogan "Today We March - Tomorrow We Vote!"

There is a revolution with a small “r” in this country (just look at California). This is not about race; this is not about a political party.  I understand "illegal" and so do honest Americans.

We need to hold our elected officials accountable and see that our laws are enforced and citizens are protected. Here in Arizona we are doing that, here is a short list of other efforts I authored that were supported overwhelmingly by voters:

Proposition 100 in 2006, “No bond or bail for illegal aliens who commit serious crime,” in the country illegally, commit serious crime and yet they were being released on bail of released with no bail. (Passed by 78 percent of voters) Proposition 102 in 2006, “No punitive damage awards” to illegal aliens who sue American Citizens. (Passed by 75 percent of voters) Proposition 103 in 2006, “English as the Official Language of Arizona.” (Passed by 75 percent of voters) Proposition 300 in 2006, “NO scholarships, grants or subsidies and not in-state tuition for illegal aliens attending higher Ed in Arizona.”  (Passed by 72 percent of Arizona voters)

(Note: 60 percent of Hispanics voted for these initiatives)

2007 HB2779 was passed by a super majority of the legislature to require E-Verify for all businesses in Arizona and suspension or revocation of their business license if the “knowingly” hired an illegal alien.  (Upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court)

2010 SB1070 was passed by the Arizona legislature and signed by the Governor taking all Political handcuffs off from law enforcement and allowing them to arrest those illegal aliens in Arizona.  (10 of 13 sections upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court) 

These common sense laws may have begun here in Arizona, but they have since been adopted by other states, including Georgia and Kansas. 

•          Violent crime dropped 15 percent while nationally it dropped less than 5 percent. 

•          Property Crime dropped 46 percent

•          Auto theft dropped 47 percent

•          Homicides dropped 50 percent

•          Elementary school populations dropped significantly saving hundreds of millions (Mesa could have closed 13 elementary schools)

And protecting the integrity of the elections process has once again become a cause worth fighting for.

But this fight is long and difficult. Even after the battle to pass Prop 200 at the ballot box, we had to keep defending Arizona’s legitimate voters and their rights as opponents of the effort took us to court again, and again, and again. Then again, again, again, and again! Each time they lost they shrugged, raised more money, and came back after us. And after 7 attempts in federal court with law suits to get SB1070 stopped, judge Bolton ruled it was legal and not racially motivated or intended.

Perhaps this victory will mark the end of the battle over this particular issue. Sadly, I expect it will not. We must recognize that when such powerful groups are willing to spend millions of dollars to deliberately open our voting process to non-citizens, billions in education, job loss for Americans, clear and convincing crime wave, their real motives are far more sinister. They are investors, and they are going to want to earn a rate of return on their investment. What are their real goals and what will they cost Arizona and this country, that they are willing to spend millions on just this one small part of it?

Far more likely these groups and their funding will proceed to their next front, and it will be up to average citizens from Arizona and elsewhere to continue standing tall for our Constitutional rights and protections.

I believe that the greatest thing we can do is to support our Constitution and the rule of law. We must protect our sovereignty, protect our citizens from abuse and fraud, and protect the integrity of our elections.

We must also remain vigilant for those who would promote or reward law-breakers, or those who have no desire to be American citizens except for the free benefits it provides them.

In short, we must continue to defend our nation, our state, our Constitution, our laws, and our values. They are unique in this world, they are the source of our freedoms and powers and remain under assault by those who would destroy them.

Tomorrow is another day. What kind of day it turns out to be is up to all of us. We must stay vigilant in the defense of this Republic. Border security is national security and enforcement actually works. We are a nation of laws. We must have the courage – the fortitude – to enforce, with compassion but without apology, those laws that protect the integrity of our borders and the rights of our lawful citizens.

Senator Russell Pearce, former President of the Arizona State Senate, Chief Deputy to Sheriff Joe, Judge and lawmaker. An Unapologetic America