The Rest of the Story

State Representative Nancy Barto has taken some considerable heat from Sen. Russell Pearce and MCRC Chairman Rob Haney for her missed vote on HB 2280.  A solid conservative, she has made sure key pro-life legislation made its way through this session and has been instrumental in supporting other conservative causes. It is a shame that accusations about family members are even considered an acceptable retort, but as we have seen in Alaska…when someone, in this case another strong woman, speaks truth to power sometimes the only place weaker people have to hit is below the belt. 

Here is a copy of the letter Rep. Barto sent out in explanantion: 

It is widely reported that on the last night of session I missed a key immigration vote – outlawing Sanctuary cities in the state – HB 2280.  I did, and for good reason.

What is it about Sen. Russell Pearce’s 2280 that caused so many of his own party to come down on the opposite side of this bill that it failed in a majority-controlled Legislature?  Are we open borders bleeding hearts? 

Quite the opposite.  Since 2006 I and others who oppose this bill voted for key legislation aimed at stopping illegal immigration in the state including two bills prohibiting Sanctuary Cities (read more below), employer sanctions to end illegal hiring in Arizona, ending public benefits, laws requiring proof of citizenship to operate a business in Arizona, stopping illegal day laborer hiring, putting resources and the AZ Nat’l Guard on the border and others.   So accusations that I am “soft on illegal immigration” are false on their face.  I’m interested in solving the problem, not making it worse.

  • I oppose HB 2280 and would have voted “no” had I chosen to be present on the floor but my absence was a silent protest in it coming to the floor in the first place.
  • Secondly, my duty to protect citizens’ health care decisions, promoting the AZ Healthcare Freedom Act, conflicted with final votes as I had four national TV and radio interviews later that day.  Part of my job as a legislator is to represent my constituents on this issue, as well, so I left the Capitol at about 5:00 a.m. to rest and prepare for a 7:30 am. FOX interview.

 HB 2280 is an example of poorly conceived public policy and here is why:

1.   The bill removes officer discretion.

            Supporters claim HB 2280 will “take the handcuffs off” local law enforcement wishing to enforce federal immigration laws.  The irony is that this bill actually goes to the opposite extreme.  The bill handcuffs them by forcing them to perform certain duties by taking away officer discretion.

It is mandate-heavy and leaves individual officers and agencies at high risk of legal action for not enforcing “to the fullest extent of the law,” since anyone can file a private cause of action against them for perceived “non-enforcement.”

Rank and file officers are not calling for this bill – they want and need true discretion to perform their duties.

2.   HB 2280 elevates enforcement of federal immigration law above other crimes.  The state of Arizona does not mandate law enforcement limit or prohibit enforcement of any other crime, ie there is no statute mandating bank robbery cases.


In effect, law enforcement will not be able to prioritize investigations among their officers because that could be interpreted to “limit” immigration law.  For example, if they say they are keying on organized crime first, car theft, second, drug dealing third, and then immigration fourth, that could be viewed as “limiting” immigration law. 

Public safety is the primary responsibility of law enforcement.  Elevating immigration enforcement to #1 thwarts that mission.

3. Crime victims and witnesses will not report serious crimes.

This bill prioritizes deporting aliens over that of catching at-large rapists by not including an exception for crime victims and witnesses.  Again, all of our safety is at risk when illegal aliens, fearing deportation, do not cooperate with law enforcement.

4. Border Security is still an unresolved issue. 

Supporters of HB 2280 often claim that more officers will die without this law, and cite Phoenix P.D.’s Nick Erfle as an example of this.  The fact is Officer Erfle’s killer, an illegal alien, had been deported at least once after having being arrested on theft charges  before he again crossed the border and murdered the Officer, which means Phoenix P.D. had been doing their job.  The problem is that our border is still porous.

In addition, ICE is limited in their detention capacity in Arizona.  They have about 5,000 beds and they are full.  When they receive non-dangerous criminals, they often release them pending a hearing in which cases they receive a temporary work permit and SS # to work! 

Increasing local law enforcement’s role will not force ICE to detain illegal aliens unless they have committed another serious crime.  But it will dramatically increase the workload for local law enforcement and stress their limited resources.

5. HB 2280 had not received a hearing in the House or been heard in Committee of the Whole before this vote.  This is what is wrong with our using Strike Everything Amendments to avoid hearings in one of the legislative chambers.

The bill went around the legislative process to get to a final vote on the last night of session. 

6. I supported  alternative bills outlawing Sanctuary cities this session and last.  

HB 2331, sponsored this year by Rep. Tom Boone, passed the House 38-21 and, if it had been allowed a hearing in the Senate, would have certainly enjoyed majority support there, as well.  How do I know?  A nearly identical bill, HB 2807, sponsored by Rep. John Nelson in 2008, passed both chambers and was vetoed by former Governor Napolitano.  

Both bills were simple, clear and effective to prohibit Sanctuary cities.  Either of these bills would have prohibited a city or town or a law enforcement agency from enacting an ordinance or adopting a policy intended to prohibit or effectively prohibit the enforcement of Federal immigration laws.  They would have given rank and file law enforcement the authority plus the necessary discretion to enforce Federal immigration laws while ensuring the public safety.

The truth is, perception trumps reality on illegal immigration and other issues.  Perception often gets in the way of good, careful lawmaking.

Some common examples:  if legislation has the word “military” or “veteran” in its title, no matter how flawed the legislation may be, lawmakers will likely be labeled anti-military if they oppose it.  Include the word “child” or “children” and the same perception applies.  Lawmakers are obviously heartless and unfeeling not to vote for whatever is contained in the bill since it will, no doubt, benefit or protect “the children”!  

In the same way, bills sponsored by certain lawmakers on this issue are considered sacrosanct when they may simply be poor public policy or need more work to make them effective legislation. 

This year we had another chance to pass a really good sanctuary bill and have it signed by a willing Governor.   But because of politics, we missed our opportunity.   

Please let me know if you have questions regarding this legislation and/or my actions.  I will gladly speak with you about it further.

Nancy Barto





  1. Jeff Richards says

    Rep. Barto and the other nine AWOL “Representatives” only like their border security legislation with big loopholes. Sen. Pearce’s bill actually clamped down on illegal aliens, that’s Barto’s problem.

  2. Joe Gonzales says

    Did you notice in the Sean Noble story SA calls him a “political genius.” But, if a counter opinion shows up, they remove the comment and close the comments? Only one point of view allowed at SA. If we say he’s a genius then by god, who in the hec are you to argue?!

    SA says open borders Sean Noble is a genius. THAT settles it! No Comments–especially to the contrary!!

  3. Sonoran Alliance says

    Hey Joe,

    As the editor of this blog, I can block anyone from posting comments that I – YES I THE SUPREME ADMINSTRATOR with all seeing eyes – believes is inappropriate to the post.

    YOU DID JUST THAT on your post about my friend Sean Noble and the terrible accident he suffered and his family is going through.

    Since this blog is not taxpayer funded, that means I can censor any damn comment I want including your rude, insensitive and inappropriate comments directed at Sean and his family.

    I don’t appreciate you attempting to hijack another post so if you continue with an off topic comment, I will use my omnipotence to keep from posting on this blog.

    And yes, I am becoming less tolerant of jackass comments like the one above.

  4. Flaccid and Furious says

    That Rep. Nancy Barto sure reads like a conscientious and principled lawmaker. It’s a shame that truly honest differences on the finer points of legislation are used to smear and threaten such leaders. Ever wonder why so few good people run for office? It’s the dimwitted bully tactics of the “Real Republicans” that make such service too great a personal sacrifice. If championing the pro-life agenda in the Legislature while also promoting health care freedom is not enough to earn Rep. Barto a fair hearing then Republicans shouldn’t wonder why independent registration and re-registration is so high. Are the Republicans a single-issue party? If the AZ GOP continues to project that image then the 2010 election is going to be a crushing disaster.

  5. Joe Gonzales says

    Okay SA. Let’s just agree the “political genius” label gets tossed out pretty cheap around here.

    You brought up Noble and politics. Not me.

  6. Just an observation from a former law enforcement officer:

    Discretion as to enforcement ia all too often determined not by the officer on the beat, nor his shift sergeant, or even a district commander.

    In the case of cities with police chiefs serving at the pleasure of a city mgr, mayor and/or council other factors determine enforcement. Quite often they reflect the desires of the business community, which provides a sizeable amount of campaign cash and in kind contributions.

    In the illegal immigration crisis which has plagued this state over the past two decades, it’s not hard to determine the entities who are determined that appointed law enforcement officials do NOT take part in effectively protecting legal entrance to this state (and for that matter, country)

    As this is a “tourist state”, there is an enormous dependency upon the restaurant, hotel and fast food industries. And they are determined to have a steady supply of cheap, unskilled labor immediately available at any cost, be it financial or political.

    One doesn’t have to be involved very long in GOP politics to determine who has the last say with the party’s elected officials on this issue. It sure isn’t the “rank-and-file”

    A damned pity, since in pursuit of the short-term fast buck they’ve sold out their fellow citizens’ culture, long term economic stability, and the nation’s sovereignty.

    These are the same folks who pushed for Simpson-Mazzoli in 1987 and are looking to replicate it today.

    We saw what happened next door in California and we’re going to experience it on a much larger scale in the immediate future.

    My hat is off to Andy Thomas, Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce, who have patriotically carried out their duties in the face of a self-centered, quisling opposition!

    And kudos to Randy Pullen and Rob Haney who have often been lonely “voices crying out in the deseret” on this issue. They and not their detractors have prioritized the good of the citizenry!

  7. Barto’s “explanation” says she has voted for “key legislation aimed at stopping illegal immigration in the state”. Please note that she does not say that she has always or even consistently voted for legislation aimed at stopping illegal immigration in the state.

    While her overall voting record has improved, I will take the word of Russell Pearce in evaluating whether a legislator has been supportive or not supportive of his efforts to stop this illegal invasion that is the biggest on-going threat to our public safety and national sovereignty.

    Barto has learned to put lipstick on her position since appointed and I was leaning to voting for her for senator, but her actions here will make me look again at Ray Barnes for my next senator.

  8. Those of you that missed the vote and yes Nancy that means you to, what do you tell my 8 year old niece Lacy, about the illegal who is using her social security number to work and receiving benefits making it almost impossible for my divorced sister to get the help she needs.

    Nancy what do you tell her, “Sorry that just the way it is?” Well that is no good enough.

    Give me a break Nancy and the others who don’t have the courgage to stand up and fix the problem. This include you Rich Crandell as well.

    If you would work on the illegal problem in this state then there would be funds to help fix the budget problems.

    Russell keep up the good work.

  9. Did you read the letter? Did you understand we are talking about laws, once on the books they are…like serious, dude. Just because there is a need doesn’t mean this attempt to meet it was the right answer.

    Nancy Barto, et al HAVE NEVER said they did not have a determined desire to fix the problem, in as much as it can be from the state level. There have been previous attempts that were vetoed by Janet or sidelined by R’s that follow the Pearce beck and call…even if it means doing a poor job for the people but a great job as the Pearce Posse.

  10. MaricopaGOP says

    When she says that the “rank and file” police officers are opposed to this, she must think that the Mesa and Phoenix police chiefs are “rank and file”

    Isn’t it interesting that PLEA, Sheriff’s Deputies Assn, Border Patrol officers, and many other real “rank and file” organizations supported this legislation that she opposed. Rep Barto needs to step up to the plate and protect the people of this state if she wants to be a state senator.

  11. Joe Gonzales says

    The Republican Platform on sanctuary policies:
    “…requiring cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement and real consequences, including the denial of federal funds, for self-described sanctuary cities, which stand in open defiance of the federal and state statutes that expressly prohibit such sanctuary policies, and which endanger the lives of U.S. citizens.”

    So, these “Republicans” who took a dive on the anit-sanctuary bill are not representing the Republicans who elected them. Here is La Raza’s list of favorite Arizona Republicans: Nancy Barto LD7, Rich Crandall LD19, Adam Driggs LD11, Doug Quelland (gone anyway), Lucy Mason LD1, Bill Konopnicki LD5, Andrew Tobin LD1, Russ Jones LD24, John McComish LD20, Carolyn Allen LD8 and John Nelson LD12.

    Look for Kirk Adams, and his pals at Wake Up Arizona! to announce their fundraiser for these nine traitors any day now.

  12. Joe Gonzales says


  13. I love how a Legislator responds with an extremely well written rationale on why this bill was fatally flawed yet a majority of the commenters above completely ignore it and pound away with the rhetoric anyway.

    Do any of you actually read the post before commenting? Comprehension can’t be that bad can it? She laid out 6 perfectly valid reasons why this bill was crap and deserved the death it got. Pearce got cocky because he thought he could bully it through so he threw the most insane provisions in there. Why not just settle for good solid laws? You wonder why people think he’s a zealot…HE IS!

    And we wonder why our party has become a circular firing squad.

  14. Like a man dying of lung cancer asking why, as he takes a long drag of his Marlboro.

  15. I’ve noticed the same thing Roger. When I’ve written reasoned posts, from a background of having a great deal of first hand knowledge of the subject of immigration they are shot to pieces upon arrival.

    The Commonsense article was titled “Illegals: For and Against” and that pretty much sums it up. Apparently, there can be no discussion without it immediately throwing you into one camp or the other.

    It’s hard to make much progress this way, but maybe that’s the reality we have to live with? If so, it’s frustrating, but I’d rather know the truth than waste time.

  16. The other legislators from LD7, Jim Waring in the Senate and Ray Barnes in the House, voted FOR this bill.

    Based on Nancy Barto’s explanation, they are either:
    1) Intimidated by Russell Pearce,
    2) Didn’t read the bill carefully,
    3) Voted YES just to go along with their friends, or
    4) Think it would have been a good law.

    So, which is it? It would be nice to hear THEIR reasoning on this as well.

  17. Sen. Jim Waring is term limited and Rep. Ray Barnes has active exploratory committee for the vacant seat. Rumor is Rep. Barto will challenge Rep. Barnes.

    Rep. Barto still has time to decide the American citizen victims of serious illegal alien crime deserve a break from her picking fights with border security conscious legislators. Her admitted silent protest is a slap in the face to those who marked a ballot for her to represent them at the legislature. The voters come second to her insulting fellow House members. And that’s in her own words.

    If Sen. Pearce had a bad bill as Rep. Barto says he did, our representation to vote No was AWOL. Thanks for nothing all you renegade Elected Republicans who walked off the job. Hope you stay there.

    Thanks for the list Joe G.

  18. Larsen Griggs says

    Barto: “Are we open borders bleeding hearts?”

    Let’s just say you and the rest of Joe G.’s list are dependable defenders of illegal and exploited labor employers.

    Lots of American roofers, plumbers, electricians, tile setters, masons, carpenters and auto mechanics out of work these days. Replaced by your protected class of illegal aliens.

    Barto, Konopnicki, Mason, Driggs and the rest of Wake Up Arizona!’s slate of state legislators aren’t representing the 75% of Arizona voters who demand border security on every ballot measure they are offered. Citizen representation is missing with this gang of 11 illegal labor advocates.

  19. No offense Larsen Griggs, if it came down to going after Rapists and Murderers or illegal gardeners, the measure would lose 75-25. I am 100% for enforcement but lets be honest about it and pass a law that makes sense and isn’t an unfunded mandate that leave the door wide open for frivolous lawsuits.

  20. Larsen Griggs says

    Which frivilous lawsuit? The ones over prop. 200, prop 100, prop 101, prop 103, or prop 300? Those unfunded mandates are working out just fine and all have survived every court challenge.

    Taxpayer savings more than make up for your “unfunded mandate” argument. Hey, Barto, McComish and Wake Up Arizona! won this round. Less power to them!

  21. Larsen Griggs, you obviously fall into the category of not reading the entire post. Any citizen can file a lawsuit whether there are merits or not. If immigration becomes the mandatory #1 priority for police, you either fund enforcement of laws or you don’t. Are you telling me we should just stop catching burglers, rapists, or murderers?

    Russell’s own bill stated clearly there were no funds to fully support the measure. Ironic enough, the measures you point out, restrict aid to illegals so where is the savings coming from?

  22. Larsen Griggs says

    Where are the savings coming from? Let’s look at only prop 300, No DREAM Act in AZ. Previously the taxpayers were charged $15,000 per head for illegal aliens to recieve the taxapayer subsidized “in-state” tuition rate. $15,000. per head! And this had been going on for years. A taxapayer subsidy my American citizen relatives from out of state were not entitled to. But illegal aliens were.

    A couple thousand illegal aliens attending University on the taxpayer’s $15,000. and pretty soon we’re talking about real money.

    It would take too much space to mention all the ways taxpayers are saving money by enacting legisaltion making life too miserable to break into our country for.

  23. I know those Props save taxpayer money. I was pointing out those aren’t unfunded mandates since most don’t require state action. Of course you are saving money by not giving aid to illegals.

  24. The frivolous lawsuits would cone from the overzealous idiots who want to interpret the law themselves. The law allowed any citizen to sue a city if they thought that city wasn’t following lockstep in accordance. In other words, if you thought illegal immigration roundups were more important than murder suspects, you could sue and potentially win.


  1. […] Nancy Barto, in a defense of her non-vote posted on this blog, said she had national interviews that conflicted with the vote. But that’s not what we […]

Leave a Reply