Dueling Mormons

Marshal Jeff Flake goes toe-to-toe with Russell Pearce, and a former New Times staffer's popped for armed robbery

It's like a scene out of the classic Western series Gunsmoke, with Marshal Matt Dillon facing off against some ornery outlaw in the streets of Dodge City. To one side, in a white hat and silver star, is courageous Congressman Jeff Flake from AZ's Sixth Congressional District, a proponent of comprehensive, humane immigration reform. To the other is bullet-headed bigot, state Representative Russell "White Pride" Pearce, a villainous hombre in a black hat who's infamous for forwarding supremacist e-mails to followers and advocating a return to Dwight D. Eisenhower's racist Operation Wetback.

Both rep Mesa (among other areas), and both are Mormons. But Arizona ain't big enough for both of 'em, partner. Three guesses whose corpse this carnivorous cormorant wants to gnaw once the fightin' is done? If you're stumped like Rose McGowan's right leg in Grindhouse, check The Bird's earlier column on Pearce ("Mesa Muttonhead," October 19, 2006) outing his prejudiced ways.

Pearce is meaner than Ian McShane’scharacter, Al Swearengen, in HBO's revisionist Western drama Deadwood, though not nearly as smart. Shoot, the Mesa moron's nearly as dumb as peckerwood Slim Pickens’ Taggart in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles! The varmint's determined to drive illegal aliens south of the border, no matter how peaceful and law-abidin' they may be.

To this end, Pearce's teamed up with Chris Simcox, a.k.a. "The Little Prince," leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and Don Goldwater, the mush-mouthed loser nephew of late Senator Barry Goldwater. Their plan? Get two initiatives on the state ballot: one punishing AZ businesses that hire illegals, the other forcing local gendarmes to arrest anyone they figure may be undocumented. Basically, Pearce wants a final solution to illegal immigration, and he doesn't care if he has to wreck the economy, put companies out of business, and herd hundreds of thousands of souls out of AZ like cattle.

But while Pearce appeals to the worst in Arizona and in his religion, Flake appeals to what Abraham Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The 44-year-old, Libertarian-minded Republican has been profiled by 60 Minutes for his idealistic battles against pork-barrel spending in the U.S. House. And he's not one to shy away from confronting Pearce and his ignominious ilk with a bill he calls STRIVE: Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007.

STRIVE's an attempt at a compromise between the two sides on the issue. It provides for beefed-up security on the border; enhanced enforcement of immigration laws with increased penalties for lawbreakers; the electronic verification of eligibility to work; the creation of worker visas for those filling jobs Americans do not want or take; conditional six-year nonimmigrant visas for those already here before June 1, 2006 (with background checks and fines and fees to be paid); and an arduous pathway to U.S. citizenship, requiring back taxes be paid along with a $1,500 fine, passing medical examinations and exiting and re-entering the United States at a predetermined point of entry during the six years of "conditional nonimmigrant status," a provision referred to as "touchback."

Flake's proposed law, which he's introduced in the House with Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, offers a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration policy with no one interest group getting everything they want. But as good as it looks on paper, this skeptical kestrel wonders, can it pass both houses of Congress?

"We've got the best shot we've had in a long time," the congressman told The Bird via phone from D.C. "The president has been very consistent on this issue. I was at the White House this morning, and he talked about it again. He's committed to comprehensive reform. Then you have Democrat control in the House and the Senate that's more likely than Republican control to get this product through. You have a pretty decent partisan coalition here that wants comprehensive reform."

Flake observed that Republican efforts to blame the Dems for lack of progress on immigration reform backfired. So now, more Republicans are looking for a compromise. Some of the bill's language is similar to the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill from the last Congress. Flake expects the House to begin holding hearings on the legislation in late April or early May and believes the Senate version may come to a vote before the House version.

When this dyspeptic pigeon phoned Pearce's office for a comment on his fellow Republican and Mormon's STRIVE legislation, Pearce relayed an answer through a staffer, stating, "It's an outrageous amnesty program. It will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars above what it's already costing us today."

Flake rejected that amnesty label while chatting with this pollo loco, pointing out, "In 1986, we had an amnesty. We said, 'You get a shortcut to a green card if you've been here illegally.' We're not doing that here. We say, 'You go to the back of the line and you can't adjust your status until everyone who's in the queue works their way through.' "

As far as the cost of the proposal, Flake admits, "There are going to be some real costs. This is not an inexpensive venture. But it's something we simply have to do."

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6 comments
rich vanek
rich vanek

People need to be accountable for their actions!!!!!!!!When people work for the UNITED STATES gov. they took an oath to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, and serve the public, NOT.... orders from their bosses,(ie... POLICE CHIEFS,JUDGES,EDITORS of media,or whoever they maybe)And when you state to be an American, you did the same thing!!!!!A Paper gun or a real gun, if your on the wrong end of it you lose!!!You four parts to your being (physical,spiritual, financial,emotional)until our laws protect all of your being, we're lost.LOOK where our leaders have led us, nowhere near the protection,guidance and love we need.WAKE up AMERICA WAKE

rich vanek
rich vanek

People need to be accountable for their actions!!!!!!!!When people work for the UNITED STATES gov. they took an oath to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, and serve the public, NOT.... orders from their bosses,(ie... POLICE CHIEFS,JUDGES,EDITORS of media,or whoever they maybe)And when you state to be an American, you did the same thing!!!!!A Paper gun or a real gun, if your on the wrong end of it you lose!!!You four parts to your being (physical,spiritual, financial,emotional)until our laws protect all of your being, we're lost.LOOK where our leaders have led us, nowhere near the protection,guidance and love we need.WAKE up AMERICA!

Keith
Keith

thats what I just love about new times reporting (not Bias ) We are talking about immigration enforcement !!!! Ask the American Indian about immigration enforcment ?? My plan for stopping border crossings .... Landminds.... hope you speak spanish .... and by the way as soon as they read and write english you are out of a job !!! I truly am not against any one trying for better oppertunities for their family. And I know that is what this is about. But there must come a time when it becomes a situation of a refugee status .... we must and I mean must stop the flow of illeagals into this country. Stupid closed eyed, just looking for name recognition reporting isnt helping the issue. But thats what the rest of us have do deal with, Knukle head num nuts like you that are trying to just get ahead so they can move on with their career to a real paper !!!!

Charles Chambers
Charles Chambers

In regards to the Flash's view that illegals are law abiding, hard working citizens, I'm curious.

How does someone immigrate illegally, and then hold down a job without a work visa, and still be law abiding?

Mark
Mark

Jason West's commment shows the compasioate side of conservativism. Four letter words are not acceptable and they merely show how un-educated and boorish Jason can be.

Jason West
Jason West

Enough of your high-and-mighty liberal leftist diarrhea-of-the-mouth BULLSHIT already!! Shut the fuck up you self-righteous lump of shit! You use this cutesy, anecdotal euphamism, "The Bird" to promote some serious sympathizer bile. Your vitriolic rants are tired, uninspired Berkeley-style propaganda. Here's a thought: formulate an original thought that lends SOME level of credibilty to your agenda. You don't provide thought provoking ideals for those not of your mindset - you just provoke. Anyone can place their wide, lumpy ass into a chair and hurl printed insults at community and governmental leaders, you chicken shit. Let me remind you that you're a journalist and an inherent responsibility therein lies to - HAVE A POINT! You bitch and moan and hurl insults, but where are your solutions, Einstein? You are a literary pussy. Your unrealistic, idealistic, pie-in-the-sky notions that ANYYONE can enter the U.S. at that their own whim, that people can just do whatever they want, whenever they feel like, and that it will all just work itself out is a total crock, trans-fat dumpster. This country didn't become the nation everyone wants to run to by instituting those kinds of shit policies and you fucking know it. But go ahead, run down to the border and show those illegals the safest route to cross, hand them a multi-grain bar and a jug of water. Hell, how about putting 30 of 40 of them up in your place? No? Thought so, dipshit. Go hug a Saguaro and jerk off the twill of sparrow nested above.

And fuck yeah, feel free to publish.

 
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