As part of his attempt to assert himself as the border hawk in his race against senatorial candidate J.D. Hayworth, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released an ad this weekend entitled “Complete The Danged Fence.” In his new ad, McCain is walking along the border in Nogales, Arizona talking to Sheriff Paul Babeu about the ten-point border security plan he recently outlined with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).
MCCAIN: Drug and human smuggling. Home invasions. Murder.
BABEU: We’re out-manned. Of all the illegals in America, more than half come through Arizona.
MCCAIN: Do we have the right plan?
BABEU: Plan’s perfect. You bring troops, state, county, and local law enforcement together.
MCCAIN: And complete the danged fence.
BABEU: It’ll work this time. Senator, you’re one of us.
However, BeyondChron points out that Nogales is located in Santa Cruz County. Babeu is from Pinal County, which is 115 miles north in central Arizona. Chances are McCain didn’t feature a local border town police chief because that person probably would’ve told him his ten-point plan is a waste of manpower and resources.
Assistant Chief Bermudez of the Nogales Police Department told the Arizona Republic, “We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico.” “You can look at the crime stats. I think Nogales, Arizona, is one of the safest places to live in all of America,” stated Bermudez. While McCain’s plan calls for the deployment of the national guard, Bermudez points out, “Everywhere you turn, there’s some kind of law enforcement looking at you…Per capita, we probably have the highest amount of any city in the United States.”
Given the fact that Nogales is located within Santa Cruz County, McCain probably would’ve been better off seeking the advice of Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada. While McCain thinks the new Arizona immigration law SB-1070 is a “good tool” for law enforcement, Estrada has called it downright racist. “The way it’s tailored is very clear. You’re looking for brown-skinned individuals. That’s what you’re looking for,” said Estrada. “That’s what the whole purpose of the law is and that’s what they’ve always said. It’s people coming across the border illegally and they’re talking mostly about Mexicans.”
FBI Uniform Crime Reports and statistics show that “while the nation’s illegal-immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2004, according to federal records…the violent-crime rate declined 35 percent.” More specifically, crime rates in Arizona border towns have remained flat over the past decade. Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff of neighboring Pima County, has stated, “This is a media-created event…I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure.”
Politifact points out that McCain was against the idea of using National Guard troops before he was for it and once described “enforcement-first” policies like the one he just offered as an “ineffective and ill-advised approach.”
ThinkProgress has posted a map for further illustration: