The number of responses to Amanda Lee Myers' opinions about providing social services to illegal immigrants is a clear indication of how sensitive the issue is, and how deeply people feel about it.
Although she did hit upon some creditable points, her conclusions missed the mark. Furthermore, Ms. Myers' statements about racism were offensive, unfounded and unnecessary in making her argument.
The Protect Arizona NOW initiative has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with money. This initiative, if it someday becomes law, would only apply to the spending of state tax dollars as required by current state policy. It would have no affect on the various federal programs.
These are tough economic times. States across the country are being forced to make very difficult decisions in order to balance huge budget deficits. Arizona is no exception. Revenues are down and demands for services are up. Record budget shortfalls of over $1 billion are being projected.
Clearly, it is a time to distinguish between needs and wants, prioritize programs and very carefully consider the benefit of every tax dollar spent. The economic ramifications of illegal immigration only make the budgetary process more cumbersome for Arizona and the other border-states.
Considering the host of social dilemmas that must be resolved, providing social services to illegal immigrants should not even be a blip on the State of Arizona radar screen.
The federal government is responsible for enforcing the immigration laws and protecting our borders. Until recently, the United States Congress has not given these issues a high priority, and appropriations have only provided enough funding to make a token effort to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. New nationwide interest in "homeland security," largely due to the horrific events of 9-11, may result in some relief in this political debacle.
The Protect Arizona NOW initiative is right for the State of Arizona.
Protecting our way of life and our freedom by securing our borders is right for America. If you are concerned about this, as everyone should be, please take the time to write to President Bush, Representative Renzi, Senator Kyl and Senator McCain. Their addresses appeared in the July 29, 2003 Payson Roundup.
Myron Robison, Payson