Earlier this month, Think Progress reported that Julie Erfle, the widow of a police officer who was killed by an undocumented immigrant and whose name has often been invoked by supporters of Arizona’s new immigration law, accused the bill’s supporters of “using her husband’s name to benefit politically and financially.” Today, Erfle appeared on MSNBC with a new message: she wants politicians to tell her why their reelection campaigns are more important than pushing through immigration reform before the midterm elections:
BREWER: So, Julie, when you hear people like the person who really spear-headed this legislation [SB-1070], Russell Pearce, using your husbands name to sell the idea of this bill — what do you think you’re husband Nick would’ve thought of it.
ERFLE: I don’t think he would’ve been in favor of it. [...] And that’s why I’ve spoke out against it. But I’m not so much speaking out against SB-1070 as I am speaking for comprehensive immigration reform. We need immigration reform. We should’ve had immigration reform before my husband’s death. And now there is no better time. I keep hearing — well there’s a midterm coming up. It’s just too controversial. It’s too political. To that I say — “tell that to me.” I would like to hear from politicians, I would like them to sit down with me and say why this is too political, why their reelection is more important than doing something on immigration reform. Or perhaps they could have that conversation with my children. I would really like to hear why it is more important to be reelected than it is to solve this problem.
Erfle also added that her “biggest issue” with SB-1070 in particular, is that it allows Arizona citizens to sue police officers if they believe they are not going after undocumented immigrants. Today, a group of city policy chiefs from Tucson, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Houston who oppose SB-1070 met with Attorney General Eric Holder to voice similar concerns. At a follow-up press conference, John Harris, police chief for Sahuarita, Arizona, stated “You have one side saying that we’re going to be racial profiling. You have another side in a portion of the law that allows people that don’t think we’re doing enough to sue us.” Harris concluded, “It makes it really difficult for us to police our communities.” Police chiefs across the country have been calling for comprehensive immigration reform for well over a year.
Around the same time Erfle appeared on MSNBC, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was griping on the Senate floor about how Congress can’t act on immigration reform until President Obama sends another few thousand National Guard troops to the border. While McCain’s colleague, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) maintains that Obama is holding border security hostage to immigration reform, others have suggested that McCain and his Republican cronies are holding immigration reform hostage to the tough reelection campaign he is facing.