The Real Arizona Agenda

This makes sense, especially in light of alleged author Kris Kobach’s proud involvement with voter caging in Kansas – and his campaign to become secretary of state. From Greg Palast:

[Phoenix, AZ.] Don’t be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don’t buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What’s new here is not the politicians’ fear of a xenophobic “Teabag” uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote — and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters … directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then Secretary of State, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no less than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanics, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you’re not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: after all, they give their names and addresses.

Captives of Sheriff Joe’s prison, Maricopa County, Arizona
So I asked Brewer’s office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?

No, not one.

Which raises the question: were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens Brewer tagged them, or just not-quite-white voters given the José Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?

The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. “We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost 2 years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case.”

This prosecutor, David Iglesias, is a prosecutor no more. When he refused to fabricate charges of illegal voting among immigrants, his firing was personally ordered by the President of the United States, George W. Bush, under orders from his boss, Karl Rove.

Iglesias’ jurisdiction was next door, in New Mexico, but he told me that Rove and the Republican chieftains were working nationwide to whip up anti-immigrant hysteria with public busts of illegal voters, even though there were none.

“They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments,” Iglesias told me. The former prosecutor, himself a Republican, paid the price when he stood up to this vicious attack on citizenship.

But Secretary of State Brewer followed the Rove plan to a T. The weapon she used to slice the Arizona voter rolls was a 2004 law, known as “Prop 200,” which required proof of citizenship to register. It is important to see the Republicans’ latest legislative horror show, sanctioning cops to stop residents and prove citizenship, as just one more step in the party’s desperate plan to impede Mexican-Americans from marching to the ballot box.

6 thoughts on “The Real Arizona Agenda

  1. I thought this all sounded a little loco, even for Arizona. Will we see Justice Department FBI investigations like those in the south during the African American Civil Rights war in the south?

  2. Obama only looks forward from Repub malfeasance or dirty dealings. Only whistle blowers are caught in the “looking backward” Obama et al gaze….

  3. Susie, thanks for the good work on reporting getting info on the background of the people involved in writing this legislation.

  4. KRIS Kobach (not Kurt) is the right-wing law professor son of a millionaire Topeka Buick GMC dealer. He was a failure in electoral politics even in conservative Kansas — he lost a US House race against moderate Democrat Dennis Moore, in a district in which the Cook PVI score gave Republicans a +3 point advantage in 2004, a year when George W. Bush swept other Republicans into office. He also succeeded in alienating moderate Republicans (an endangered species) by instituting a loyalty oath, while chairing the state Republican party. (The previous chair was so angered that he became a Democrat, ran for lieutenant governor, and became the state’s Democratic governor when Kathleen Sebelius was appointed secretary of Health and Human Services last year. Kobach, Phill Kline, Fred Phelps, and Scott Roeder are the personalities that have helped Kansas achieve the world-wide reputation it has today.

    It should not surprise anyone that Kobach has authored an immigration law in the spirit of the infamous Dred Scott decision. It is what he does.

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