Howl of Sanity

The Bird's nesting better at night knowing that, while local politicians wrangle over how and why to secure the Arizona-Mexico border, someone's keeping an eye on the opportunistic bums who've taken policing the border into their own hands.

In fact, Democratic state Representative Kyrsten Sinema has done more than spy on these vigilantes in Arizona; she's drafted legislation that would make armed civilian border patrols illegal.

Now, Sinema's got to be the most openly liberal member of the Arizona Legislature, which isn't saying much in this state. She isn't even suggesting that nothing needs to be done about illegal immigration! She's just hinting that the Minutemen who're dressing up in camouflage and reflector sunglasses and packing heat are a bunch of cowardly scumbags.

But despite the fact that the Phoenix lefty's bill hasn't a snowball's chance in the Sonoran Desert of becoming law, this feathered fiend's got to give her props. We need her lone voice in the wilderness around here. Ah-ooooo!!!

What Sinema's calling "A Bill to Protect Private Persons From Domestic Terrorism and Other Potential Violent Activity" (what a title!), the proposal recommends that anyone "not affiliated with a local, state, or federal law enforcement entity" who's busted at the border with a firearm be fined $100,000 and sentenced to no less than six months in the poky.

You go, girl! The Bird would go even further -- maybe like sentencing such vigilantes to walk from the Mexican border to Phoenix in the company of the Mexican people they despise in the middle of July.

Governor Janet Napolitano said in her State of the State Address that she'd keep illegals from crossing the border by beefing up the National Guard's presence down there. Some Guard troops are already along the border dealing with illegal drug and stolen-vehicle trafficking. Donkey Kong (which The Bird's been calling the gov since Robert Nelson's recent New Times story extolling her unbelievable political prowess) has been claiming the border's a disaster area for some time now -- thus giving her the power to dispatch more Guard members.

Only problem is, master politician Napolitano wants to yell about the bad old illegal immigration problem without coming up with anything remotely possible to fix it -- she only wants to dispatch the Guard if the feds will pay for it.

Talk about Sinema's bill being a long shot!

And here's another harebrained idea to fix illegal immigration that the feds would tell Arizona to shove (don't worry, it has no chance of ever becoming state law, either):

State Representative Russell Pearce told Lou Dobbs on CNN that he wants to post 200 state Department of Public Safety officers along the border and charge the George W. Bush administration $50 million in resulting payroll costs.

With an anti-immigration wingnut like Pearce and a player of racial politics like Napolitano huffing and puffing up such stupidity, Sinema's bill seems entirely rational, at least.

Sinema's bill would do nothing to stem the flow of illegals into Phoenix and Tucson. (Who cares? Both places would go under economically if this pipeline were plugged.) But at least it could be pulled off. At least it could be an inducement to local authorities to enforce the law.

The Bird's squawking, it would be a kick in the pants to local police to arrest the Minutemen mo-fos for impersonating officers of the law -- which's always been illegal.

"I've been monitoring the Minutemen for a year now," Sinema told The Bird, "and they're just scary."

Sinema pointed to the group's ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists (which aren't necessarily the same thing) as reason number one why the vigilante group needs to be eighty-sixed from border patrolling.

"Race-based tactics always lead to violence," she insisted. "Remember, the Ku Klux Klan was the first-ever group to patrol the border between the U.S. and Mexico back in the '70s."

When this pretend parrot phoned up Pearce to get his reaction to Sinema's bill, it thought his head was going to explode.

"She's being outrageous!" the Mesa Republican exclaimed about Sinema. "I can't wait to see her next bill, which will be against -- what -- Americans defending their homes against burglars?"

If Pearce weren't Mormon, this foul fowl would swear he'd been smoking crack.

"People like Miss Sinema are the pro-illegal-alien folks who want to punish the good people for doing their jobs," he seethed. "It's a sad day when the lawmakers side with the lawbreakers against the lawkeepers."

Cool turn of phrase. He'd have to be high to come up with that.

By "good people," Pearce means vigilante groups like said Minutemen (natch) who've lately been documented abusing and harassing would-be immigrants at the border and hassling undocumented workers who hang out in front of Home Depots looking for work.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela