With states across the country facing record budget shortfalls, and Republican leadership vowing to cut off even more aid, now would be the time for responsible leaders to focus first and foremost on tackling the difficult economic issues of the day. Of course, Arizona state Senator and Senate President-elect Russell Pearce is hardly a responsible leader.
The architect of Arizona’s SB 1070 and minion of the private prison industry, Pearce has vowed to continue his immigration campaign to repeal the part of the 14th Amendment that grants birthright citizenship as his singular legislative priority. This is despite the fact that during his campaign he pledged that boosting Arizona’s flatlined economy would be his number one priority.
Pearce doesn’t have the universal support of other Arizona Republicans, many of whom fear that boosting the economy will take a backseat to Pearce’s personal agenda. Pearce had pledged to those immigration-weary Republicans to wait until 2012 to push for a 14th Amendment bill but has now backtracked saying simply that he won’t sponsor anything this legislative session, but will make sure that any bill that is sponsored gets passed.
According to reports, there is good reason to think that Pearce already has legislation in the works. He is apparently teaming up with Kris Kobach of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to draft a repeal of birthright citizenship.
Of course, Pearce and his cohorts know that any 14th Amendment legislation they pass will face immediate legal challenge. And that’s the point. They are less interested in drafting good law for Arizona and more interested in creating a showdown in federal court over immigration policy.
Sounds like a good use of taxpayer time and money, especially during an economic crisis, huh?
photo courtesy of Barnaby via Flickr