Wake up Arizona – update.

So Wake Up Arizona had their big press conference (yawn.) If we want to bring more business to Arizona so that we are the fastest growing state in the union (oh wait, we already are) then why stop at repealing the employer sanctions bill (HB 2779.) Let’s weaken our environmental regulations, slash business taxes, sell half of the state trust land next month for $1,000 per acre, loosen zoning restrictions, legalize gambling, and generally open up Arizona for more business. Imagine the upside. The economic boom would be significant. We could all enjoy even more crowded freeways, classrooms busting at the seams in modular buildings, increased crime, prison overcrowding like never before, a housing market pulled out of the slump with prices back into the stratosphere. What fun! I can’t wait. Is there no price that we will not pay for that next dollar?

On a more serious note Wake Up Arizona sent out a press release before Tuesday’s media event hosted at the Gordon C. James firm. To quote the release “Business and community leaders representing key sectors of the Arizona economy will appear at the event.” I don’t mind if this group wants to express their opinion but trying to pass themselves off as “leaders” redefines hyperbole. Three of the members are fast food franchises. Is that really a “key sector” of Arizona’s economy, fast food? (We are a long way from the four C’s.) One of them is an ad firm that seems to cater to the non-English speaking market? Wonder if they have a very personal stake in lots of new arrivals from Mexico coming to Arizona every month?

If these clowns can somehow convince the likes of Banner Health, Intel, Honeywell International, Raytheon, Phelps Dodge, and the State of Arizona (one of the leading employers in Arizona) to join in fighting the law of the land then they may properly refer to themselves as “leaders” from “key sectors.” At this point they are small fish in a big pond. They should save us all the cost of the court battle and move their marginally useful businesses to California or some other more “friendly” environment. If the newly signed law is half as bad as they say I am surprised they have not left already.

Update: In Arizona the Espresso Pundit blog is less reactionary than Sonoran Alliance. When the cautious and thoughtful Greg weighs in against your group you have really lost the battle.


  1. It’s five C’s, copper, climate, citrus, cotton, cattle. Fourth grade Arizona public school social studies, at least it was in the ’60’s. When this state actually funded public education and thought it was valuable.

  2. Ann,

    Sorry about leaving out climate.

  3. Was that the one? It is a great influence on our economy.

    Help me to understand something and up front, this is not a pick a fight question. When it comes to illegal immigration, I know what the problem is, I understand the problem, and I do not like the problem. That is not the same as I do not like Mexicans, or I do not like Dominicans, or I do not like Bosnians. I hate the negative impact on our local culture, economy, and over all way of life. Hate is a strong word, but it fits. I particularly fear for our national security. The news has been full of increase tension over terror threats at home. Just how would these happen and who would be the perpetrators…. Some guy born in Gilbert (or anytown USA), educated in the local public school, who attended Vacation Bible School every summer, and played high school sports? Probably not the profile the FBI uses.

    But, with all that said… I also am rooted in agriculture (nice unintended pun) and know what this will do to many farmers who are not the big agri-business operation as well as the family owned, generational farms. Plain and simple, when you can find enough native born and bred guys (or gals) to cut hay, clean cattle pens, sort cows for milking, or run irrigation at 3:30 am and then again at 7:30 pm on another field….well, let me know. The wage is not the issue, it is the work. The wage might become the issue when it is high enough to entice enough workers to do the work but then the cost of the product will have to increase. Do you have any idea how many family owned farms have gone under or had to switch crops because the just couldn’t compete anymore and feed their families?

    I am sure there are plenty of folks who will write and post how they would, or did, or their kids would. But, I’ve got to say I just don’t buy it. I’ve seen the average teen try to work a farm as a laborer and they just won’t do it when they can work indoors, with a set lunch break and a food court, and never have to break a sweat. Try to get a grown man to show up day after day to work that is not only hard but hardly glamorous in today’s world. Not when there is a new Wal-Mart on every corner with pay that might not be great but at least it doesn’t involve manure.

    I have some very close friends and family who have every one of their employees show papers and who pay into Social Security, pay taxes, and do what ever is required by law. But I have no doubt among that mix are some who would never pass Basic Pilot. I know it is for new employees only, but what about attrition? What about the growth of a business and the need to hire more when it is hard to hire as it is?

    I am not endorsing the support of wealth by using unskilled, under paid, illegal labor. I am talking about a natural resource that is the backbone of this country. We are already bridled with regulations that restrict the American farmer heavily while the trade restrictions are so light on imported foods that the foreign producer can get away with stuff the American farmer can’t, but it all ends up at the same Safeway and in your mouths. If you think dependence on foreign oil is bad, what would dependence on foreign food be like?

  4. Ann,

    I have not heard anyone who has stated that they oppose a guest worker program once we secure the border and enforce the laws already on the books. We have had two generations of illegal immigration aided and abetted by the Farm Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Big Macs, etc while all promises of border security have been nothing but empty promises.

    This time, the overwhelming majority of the people are saying that they are tired of the bait and switch tactics of the federal government and the parties above to promise both while only delivering on the latter.

    We can, and I believe will, have a guest worker program to solve demonstrable labor needs, but that has to come after we return to the concepts that our sovereignty and rule of law are primary.

  5. Ann,

    There was a great article in the Oregonian yesterday on a new mechanical grape harvester that does the work of thirty laborers in one third the time, while producing a better product.

    Necessity is the mother of invention and we must not try to solve tomorrows problems with todays solutions. Technology and the American inventive mind will not allow that to happen.

  6. Ann,

    You lay out a good argument for legal immigration. What I got from the failed senate comprehensive immigration bill battle is that the people want the border secured before addressing the rest of the issues. It is sad that elected officials have neglected the insecure border for so long that they have lost the trust of the people and it is now not possible to move forward without restoring that trust.

  7. kralmajales says

    I think Ann’s post is right on. (sorry Ann…I know I am not the best endorsement of your position).

    GOP PK,

    You ask why we shouldn’t secure the border first before moving toward a guest worker program. Many people don’t believe a) that the border will be securable; b) that it will at least take a very long time; c) that this argument is a myth and there is never any real intention of putting the 12 million here on a path to citizenship or to have guest worker program. Not your postions, I know.

    In the meantime, the crisis for American homebuilders, agriculture, and a host of other industries is real and cannot wait. Story after story suggests that we are starting to import more and more food from S. America and that crops are rotting in the soil or are never even planted. In Colorado, they had to call out prisoners to pick crops when the crackdown there did not produce enough immigrant labor.

    So why not do both at the same time? The needs on both sides (border security and labor) are real. Lets fix them both.

  8. kral,

    “the crisis for American homebuilders” The crisis is that they overbuild and now have trouble selling their product. Maybe they should have build for real demand and not for speculation.

    I am surprised to see you so often use “America” to describe the U.S. I thought America extended from the top of Canada to Tierra del Fuego.

  9. What a pleasant conversation! Agreed on the need for guest worker, the real difficulty is deciding the when and how.

    I do however have to come to the defense of Farm Bureau. It is the lack of a guest worker program that has created the situation to which you refer. When left with increasing fuel prices, growth that is moving farmers farther and farther away from a centralized work force, and a booming economy based on technology not physical labor, farmers have had to take what is offered. Mexican labor is not new and certainly I would never suggest it is. The no longer used term, “wetback” or “mojado” is derived from crossing the Rio Grande to get to the states, primarily for agricultural work.

    After WWII, many family farm children moved to town. The life chosen was not the continuation of what their fathers and grandfathers had created. Then the big business, heavy equipment, high-tech bio, and computer based systems came into play. The members of farm family roles have shifted from the youngest that got the grunt job of cleaning pens to the oldest that gets to drive the tractor. That still happens and the stories are pretty funny. But more often, someone keeps the books on a computer with a spreadsheet and program for planting, harvesting, and production stats, orders online and handles inventory the same way. Someone else has a degree in agri-science and keeps up to date on feed and fertilizer for the highest production at the lowest cost and keeps things running in the field. Labor for labors sake farm workers just don’t stand in line waiting to be hired. Boring, routine, hot/cold, no future of ever being the boss. In the midst of this change was the infusion of labor, needed labor, by what were primarily Mexican farm workers.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll be honest about my perception, it wasn’t until it reached critical mass that any of us really cared enough to do anything about it. As long as we all were the beneficiaries of the illegal Mexican worker, it was OK. If it was just farm work they were doing, who cared?

    But, it is not 1980 anymore. It isn’t even the summer of 2001… it is a post 9-11 world and we all need to understand the difference between financial/economic security and national security. No Mexican farm worker has ever bombed a building; the drug runners, gang members, cop-killers and societal piranhas are an entirely different story and not at all what Farm Bureau, the C of C, or anyone else has in mind.

    There has to be a way to take care of both.

  10. az gant,

    So is that what we are singing about in “America the Beautiful”?

  11. Ann,

    I could agree with the Farm Bureau if they had been players over the last twenty years in helping secure the border and then demonstrating the need for guest workers. That is not the case, however. I worked in the Department of Labor Farm Labor Division in an earlier life (it seems) and monitored the temporary guest workers here in Maricopa County. I was at the bus pickup point in The Duce at five in the morning five days a week and did field site inspections.

    I understand the needs, but to directly or indirectly support the invasion of our sovereignty and rule of law is unacceptable and the Farm Bureau and national Chamber of Commerce has done that.


    You are wrong about my intentions. First of all, you do not know my feelings about a temporary worker program. I do not believe that you give that benefit to lawbreakers, but I do believe that there is probably a need. With the news article in the Oregonian yesterday about the mechanical grape harvester, though, there may not be as much need in the future as we think now.

    As to securing the border, that is doable if we have the will. Israel is successful in a situation where those who want to violate their sovereignty are much more passionate than our situation. We seem to have been able to secure the border of South Korea quite nicely also.

    Now to the good, you are right that I do not want to put felons on a path to citizenship. That flies in the face of our historical criteria for naturalization and citizenship.

    As to the Colorado situation, I am totally in favor of having non-violent prisoners doing some of this work. It would save money for the citizen owners of the land, provide a work ethic to the prisoners, and reduce the demand for the hiring of illegals. Seems like a perfect storm of perfection to me.

  12. Hickman’s employs inmates from Lewis prison, they are held to tight security and expected to work as if they were any other employee. Exposure to the world outside the institutional environment is a positive for many inmates who were incarcerated at a young age and have not been a part of the cultural changes that took place over the last 10 or so years. How much work in a huge chicken farm resembles modern pop culture is anybodies guess.

    I hear you on the Farm Bureau-border security issue. But in reality and fairness, who was involved or even aware on a global scale of border security pre-9-11? We all were very suddenly and sadly thrust into a new awareness with no relevance to our past practices.

    Using the term “The Duce” really ages you and that I know what you mean…well, that shoe fits.

  13. I work in the medical field, and I see in my hospital alone hundred of thousands of dollars being robbed from Americans to treat illegals. Ive seen prgnant mexicans who cross the border to steal health care and have their childeren illegally obtain american status. Ive seen medical bills reach over 1 million dollars, $1,000,000.00 for one patient in the burn unit. Why are these business owners supporting actions the rob, steal and cheat the system? What does that say about thier business practices? We should ban them and their products as well. Treat them like the cancer they are.

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