May 1, 2010

Fox News' Megyn Kelly invited Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on yesterday morning to explain exactly why she signed into law a bill that effectively transformed her state into a police state for immigrants and Latinos.

As she has done all along, Brewer mostly whined about how mean her critics were, including all of the folks from other cities who are now officially boycotting Arizona. Kelly listed some of them and asked:

Kelly: Do you think that these folks who are all noticeably outside of your state, are the ones that I just ticked off, including the President, have an appreciation, governor, for what Arizona has been going through with respect to illegal immigration?

Brewer: Obviously not. You know Arizona has been under terrorist attacks, if you will, with all of this illegal immigration that has been taking place on our very porous border. ... The whole issue comes back, that we do not and will not tolerate illegal immigration bringing with it very much so the implications of crime and terrorism into our state.

Terrorism? Does anyone have any idea what Brewer is talking about?

I know that much of the hysteria that was whipped up to push this bill through was based on the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was in fact almost certainly slain by a scout for the drug cartels.

Nonetheless, the Right -- embodied by Fox News -- consistently described his killer as an "illegal immigrant" -- even though the man was not crossing the border to emigrate, but to enable drug crossings on the border.

In other words, the Krentz case was not about illegal immigration, but drug smuggling across the border -- an entirely separate issue. Indeed, Brewer and the Republicans would have been far more effective in attacking that problem by passing laws decriminalizing marijuana.

Perhaps more to the point, Brewer is living in another universe if she's trying to claim that the wave off immigration that has hit Arizona in the past decade has produced a crime wave. As Media Matters points out:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the violent crime rate in Arizona was lower in 2006, 2007, and 2008 -- the most recent year from which data are available -- than any year since 1983. The property crime rate in Arizona was lower in 2006, 2007, and 2008 than any year since 1968. In addition, in Arizona, the violent crime rate dropped from 577.9 per 100,000 population in 1998 to 447 per 100,000 population in 2008; the property crime rate dropped from 5,997 to 4,291 during the same period. During the same decade, Arizona's undocumented immigrant population grew rapidly.

As for terrorism in Arizona, the only case I can recall of any kind of recent vintage was the Viper Militia bunch arrested back in 1996 -- though some of their rabid supporters have been showing up at Tea Party rallies with guns.

The only terrorist of note to come from Arizona was Robert Mathews, the leader of the neo-Nazi gang The Order.

But those folks are all operating at the same end of the political spectrum as their pal Joe Arpaio -- who was the inspiration for this legislation in the first place.

Funny how that works, isn't it?

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