Profile of Sheriff Joe Doesn't Paint a Pretty Picture
This week the National Institute on Money in State Politics released a study on funding spent supporting and opposing immigration-related ballot measures. The study examined 2008 ballot initiatives in Oregon and Arizona and found that money raised by both sides of the issue totaled more than $17.5 million. Our broken immigration system is becoming incredibly expensive in new and unanticipated ways and it's only going to continue to increase unless Congress and the Administration get serious about immigration reform.
Unabashed promoters of E-verify have had a busy week, moving from hearings in the Senate and House to Rep. Heath Shuler's (D-NC) pep rally for the 2009 version of his fatally flawed SAVE Act--a bill that continues to promote the deportation-only version of immigration reform. Step back from all this activity, however, and two things are clear: 1) serious problems continue to plague a wide-scale implementation of an electronic employment verification system (EEVS); and 2) those problems won't be tackled except in the context of comprehensive immigration reform
The July 20th issue of The New Yorker paints a detailed portrait of Maricopa County, Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- and it is not a pretty picture. The profile of "Sheriff Joe" that emerges from the story by journalist William Finnegan is that of a man obsessed with publicity and self-promotion, who has a deep streak of sadism and little regard for the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, actual crime-fighting, or protecting the safety of the public he ostensibly serves. The most remarkable aspect of this story is that Arpaio is still legally permitted to carry a badge and a gun after more than a decade and a half of egregiously abusing his power.
The Senate Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday addressing electronic employment verification. While today's hearing acknowledged that employment verification is an important element of comprehensive immigration reform, serious questions remain about how a mandatory employment verification system should be designed. Today's momentum building must be paired with serious analysis of the many serious issues involved with a large, mandatory employment verification system.
This week, the U.S. Census Bureau published new data, Voting and Registration in the Election of 2008, which tracks demographic characteristics of the 131 million U.S. citizens who reported that they voted in the 2008 presidential election. The Census Bureau's new data set shows a significant increase of about 5 million voters from the 2004 presidential election — including 2 million more Latino voters and 600,000 more Asian voters. Like it or not, immigrants and their children are here to stay and will continue to comprise a significant segment of the voting population.