Last year, the Arizona legislature passed the nation’s toughest immigration law, SB-1070. This year, the new “Tea Party Senate,” along with the conservative House of Representatives, is considering a flurry of other radical right wing immigration bills ranging from a proposal that would redefine the Constitution to deny the children of undocumented immigrants citizenship to a piece of legislation which would require public schools to ask about immigration status.
Instead of investigating statistics which show that that the U.S. – side of the border is actually safer than it has ever been, Arizona lawmakers continue to building on a largely manufactured immigration crisis. It doesn’t help that one of the expert witnesses being called to present before the Arizona Senate Border Security Committee is someone who has been referred to as “a vitriolic Mexican-basher and self-appointed guardian of the border who may have done more than anyone to spread the myth of a secret Mexican conspiracy to reconquer the Southwest.” The Phoenix New Times reports that Glenn Spencer — head of the nativist American Border Patrol organization — is set to conduct a presentation on Arizona and the Mexican border.
In the past, Spencer has never hesitated to share his views on what is happening at the border. “Our country is being invaded by Mexico with hostile intentions,” wrote Spencer on his website. “We’re [talking] about la reconquista.” (Spencer was referring to the conspiracy theory that Mexican immigrants want to reconquer, or take over the U.S. southwest). Maybe he will give Arizona the same advice he gave California: “Americans, especially white Americans, should get out of California.” Spencer is also closely tied to Shawna Forde — the Minuteman vigilante who was recently found guilty of storming a Latino family’s home and killing a nine-year-old girl and her father. In fact, Forde fled to Spencer’s ranch after the murder and was arrested as she was leaving the property.
State Senator Sylvia Allen (R-AZ), chairwoman of the committee which will hear Spencer’s remarks, justified her support of SB-1070 by stating, “How long will it be before we will be just like Mexico, Canada or any of the other Central American or South American countries? We have already lost our language, everything must be printed in Spanish also. We have already lost our history it is no longer taught in our schools. And we have lost our borders.” Allen also wondered whether it is “too late to save America.” When a lawmaker invites a nativist who “courts” white supremacists as an expert witness, it certainly raises the question of whether it’s to late to save Arizona politics.