Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The feds make more than half a million arrests of border jumpers in Arizona each year, and analysts believe that at least two succeed for every one who's caught. Reflecting the views of their constituents, candidates blame undocumented immigrants for raising the state's crime rate (the worst in the nation), lowering its public schools' test scores and crowding its hospitals' emergency rooms, among other ills.
What to do about the problem, however, is a question that divides voters and candidates alike, even those in the same party. There's no better illustration of this than Arizona's 8th Congressional District, a 9,000-square-mile, rough-hewn expanse that stretches from Tucson east to Willcox and south to an 80-mile stretch along the Mexican border. The Republican nominee is former state Rep. Randy Graf of Green Valley, a retiree-heavy enclave south of Tucson. Graf has made illegal immigration the central issue of his political career. Quite unrealistically, he wants to seal the borders and force undocumented aliens to leave the country to obtain a visa. A new guest worker program, he said at a recent debate with his three opponents, would "wave a white flag" on immigration and "allow the 20 million illegals to be here legally." Click here.